A week in Lourdes

I belatedly saw that as a 2009 graduate I'm eligible to enter the Lens Culture student and recent graduate competition, so thought it was a good excuse to get my bum into gear and enter some competitions - something I've been told off for being so reticent about. I enjoy Lens Culture and made the submission deadline just in time. I enjoyed going back to the negatives and selecting five images that I thought worked well together – I also had some helpful advice from some of my more experienced photographer friends! I don't anticipate winning or anything, but it's nice to go through the process about looking at my work, editing it, and so on.

Here are the five that I chose. I think they tell the story about the week in Lourdes – but if you disagree you can see the ones I rejected at the end!

Most of the Ampleforth pilgrimage travels to Lourdes onboard a charter flight from London Stansted. Loading 70-80 hospital pilgrims (with many in wheelchairs) takes around an hour. 

The pilgrimage is a great leveller, and friendships are made during the long hours travelling around Lourdes. 

The Basilica of St. Pius X is an underground church that can seat 25,000 people, and giant TV screens allow everyone to see the High Altar during the twice weekly International Mass. Held concurrently in four languages, the service allows time for people to reflect in private prayer... 

... or for the exhausted brancardiers and handmaidens to catch up with some badly needed sleep.

The Candlelight Procession takes place every night at dusk, and thousands of pilgrims walk behind a life sized statue of the Virgin Mary, which is carried by eight brancardiers.

Below are the images that didn't make the final selection. Some are personal favourites - they just didn't help tell the story in the tight edit of five that I had to whittle the work down to.