Saint Thomas, St. Thomas Mount, India
I photographed this statue of St. Thomas on the very top of St. Thomas Mount in Chennai (i.e., Madras), India. This is said to be the place where St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, was mataryed.
Also known as the Doubting Thomas, due to his disbelief at the news of Jesus's resurrection from the grave, Thomas was believed to be the first Christian to reach India. Having sailed to India in 52AD to spread the Christian faith among the Jews of Cochin, The Apostle of India continued to preach along the Malabar and Coromandel coasts of southern India until his death in 72AD after having bled to death after being shot by an arrow.
Perhaps the greatest testament to his work is that there are around 23 million Christians, 17 million of whom are Catholics, in India today. The third largest religious group in the country, after Hindus and Muslims, Christians nevertheless represent a minority of the population at around 2.3%. Today Christian missionaries provide excellent health care and education to many thousands at Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary school; as well as colleges and universities.
I visited St. Thomas Mount twice on my recent trip to Chennai. I found the statue presented an emotive and compelling depiction of the Apostle Thomas that portrayed him as a deeply spiritual and compassionate man.
I often like to photograph statues up close in a way that removes them from their environment. In this case the sky makes a good, nondescript background that allows me to concentrate attention on the emotive and narrative qualities explored within the structure. Ultimately I'm not photographing a statue, but exploring the humanity depicted within the structure.