Open Secrets

Photographers have long excelled at making the private public—showing us what we don’t (or, in many cases, can’t) necessarily see; taking us somewhere new, somewhere strange, somewhere that is perhaps off-limits. S. Billie Mandle quietly elegant series “Reconciliation” does exactly that. The Brooklyn-based shutterbug has photographed dozens of Catholic Church confessionals, showing us the various places where devotees bear all to a presumably patient (albeit unseen) priest on the other side of a wall, screen, or window. The imagery is stunning, but Mandle’s confessional photographs go far beyond religious imagery. They are about communication—the perforated walls and thick screens that divide the confessor from the priest, the clinical nature of some of these sacred spaces, and the sort of separate-togetherness fostered within.

Photos: © 2010 Billie Mandle –

Billie Mandle - 1

Billie Mandle - 1
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