Friday, September 10, 2010

The Inadequacies of Google Image Search, Or, Why I Photograph Everything

I was creating a power point presentation on medieval devotional strategies and I wanted to illustrate how modern Christians sometimes continue practices that were popular in medieval times, such as putting actual clothes or jewelry on statutes of saints, especially the Virgin Mary. I knew I had seen examples, usually in Europe, so I tried googling for an example.
I tried all sorts of word combinations- statue, Virgin Mary, clothing, real clothes, ornamentation, and so on. I kept getting lots of sites that wanted to sell me images of the BVM but no decent pictures of the kind I needed.
Frustrated, I finally remembered that back in 2007 when I was in York for the summer I saw an example in one of the York parish churches. (There are over 20 surviving medieval parish churches in York. I have photographed them all.) Searching through those files I finally came up with this modern Mary wearing a veil, from near the rood screen at All Saints North Street, York.
Admittedly google and wikipedia and so on can be useful.
But when one specializes, it's best to have one's own resources.

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