In Rome 2005

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am


Ends Aug 23

What would it take for someone to stand in line for 12 hours? A free airline ticket? Front row seats to their favourite band? Or, perhaps, the death of Pope John Paul II.

The death of the 84-year old pontiff on April 2 drew a sea of followers from all over the world to Vatican City. Among them were three architecture students from Cornell University who recorded their journey in photographs.

In In Rome 2005, American Emmett Moran Vanriper, Indian Tripty Arya and Hongkonger Winston Yeo expressed their experiences of the events in the wake of the pope's death. 'All the streets flowed to the Vatican,' says Vanriper. 'Hundreds of thousands of people channelled to one exact point so they could express a moment of devotion.'

Shot on a bright, hazy day, the photos place viewers in the midst of the procession, surrounded by the colossal buildings of St Peter's Square. Some images show people from the shoulder up, placing them in the shadows of the buildings. You can almost feel the photographers squeezed between young and old, devotees and non-believers. As a non-Catholic, Yeo says he found much of what he saw alien. Crowds waited 12 hours to spend 30 seconds viewing the late pontiff. 'I began to feel, although not comprehend, the magnitude and intensity of emotions,' Yeo says. Many of those who queued didn't speak the same language, but the students agree that, for a short moment in history, strangers came together to celebrate an abundance of life inspired by death.

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