“I am not a Catholic. I was raised a Methodist and can’t say that I am very religious. My grandfather was a Methodist minister and died before I could remember, when I was 1 year old. My only memories of him are everyone telling me what a great man he was. My grandmother was a religious person before his death but her faith was shaken when he died. She would often ask rhetorically, ‘Why would God take someone like that away?’ Although people would try to console her with ‘God has his own reasons,’ it remained something that she simply could not come to terms with even until her own death many years later. It is because I was witness to my grandmother’s deep struggle with her own faith that I believe I am fascinated with the visible display of faith on Ash Wednesday.”
Today, Ash Wednesday, will be Miller’s 17th year of photographing strangers in midtown Manhattan who have a cross of ash on their foreheads. He began shooting the project with his 8 x 10 film camera in 1998, and has managed to shoot it every year since, between other jobs and commitments. To see how it’s done, check out Miller’s video.