Watch This: Neal Slavin Photographs People in Prayer

The famous photographer takes on a very personal project

Portrait photographer Neal Slavin made a name for himself as a specialist in staging groups of people, from a fencing club wreaking havoc in a ballroom to a passel of well-behaved pugs. Now, with The Prayer Project, he's photographing a very personal subject in the city he calls home, making very large-scale photos of communities at prayer, all unstaged and all in New York City.

“Every prayer group, every spiritual group, every religion, is in this great city,” he told us during a visit to his studio this summer to see the work in progress. He showed us prayerful gatherings from a candlelight service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to a Krishna Consciousness gathering in the Union Square subway station to an all-night voodoo ceremony in Brooklyn. “I’m a total New Yorker. I was born here. I love the city. I thrive off it. Everything is here. … That’s how I came to define the perimeters of the project.”

From: American Photo