The following images, captions and text are by Lauren Pond. Lauren is a photographer who specializes in documenting faith and religion in society – in order to build understanding among people. At Tanenbaum we combat religious prejudice through practical programs – and we celebrate the work of individuals who are dedicated to eliminating hatred, whether it be through the arts, education or peacebuilding.
With their tattoos, leather jackets, and sometimes dark pasts, some bikers say they feel judged and unwelcome at traditional churches. However, in southeast Ohio, dedicated biker ministries and churches are helping motorcyclists use Christianity to turn their lives around.
At least 100 people gather regularly for worship services at the Rushing Wind Biker Church in Zanesville, Ohio, which was founded in 2010 by members of the local Bikers For Christ motorcycle ministry. The church seamlessly blends Christianity with elements of biker culture, and tries to make everyone feel welcome, regardless of their background or appearance, said Pastor Michael McGuire.
“They need to hear the truth about their past and how they can be forgiven. We’re interested in a person’s heart. And we want to see that heart change, and believe that it can be.” – Pastor Michael McGuire
– Lauren Pond
Lauren Pond is a documentary photographer who specializes in coverage of faith and religion. She recently received her Master of Arts degree in photojournalism from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, and currently works as a freelancer based in Athens, Ohio.
Rather than focusing on worship and ritual, Lauren explores how people’s beliefs shape their daily lives, decisions, and cultures. She often immerses herself in faith-based communities over the course of several months, helping her understand different faiths more deeply and portray them in a nuanced manner. Ultimately, Lauren hopes to use her work to generate greater religious understanding, empathy, and tolerance.
Lauren’s work has been recognized by the Magnum/Inge Morath Foundations, the Lucie Foundation, FotoVisura, PDN, College Photographer of the Year, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, among others.