Dramatic Photos of Modernist Church Interiors Capture the Beauty of “Sacred Spaces”

Notre-Dame-du-Travail captured by Thibaud Poirier

Notre-Dame-du-Travail, Paris, France (Jule-Godefroy Astruc, 1902)

Photographer Thibaud Poirier has been making his way across Europe to capture the incredible interiors of churches and temples. In a continuation of his series Sacred Spaces, Poirier explores 15 more modernist places of worship through photographs. In each photo, he carefully preserves the same composition—a perfectly centered image with the focal point at the front of the pulpit.

Thanks to the symmetry of this careful approach to documentation, scrolling through the series allows viewers to make quick comparisons of the aesthetics of each structure. The height of vaults and length of corridors may change, but other qualities tend to remain the same, such as the long rows of pews and the imagery at the pulpit. The series also acts as a celebration of light and structure. The holy atmosphere of these spaces can begin to be understood as the result of a perfectly placed skylight or an impressive arch.

Notre-Dame du Raincy captured by Thibaud Poirier

Notre-Dame du Raincy, France (Auguste et Gustave Perret, 1923)

While the architectural gestures obviously play a role, Poirier is more poetic when describing the shared qualities of these interiors. “Despite their great stylistic differences,” he explains, “the glue between these churches remains invisible to the human eye yet vibrates within each of us: the emotional state created whilst one is present. The sense of belonging. The conviction of something larger than us all.”

The series has adapted to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sacred Spaces II mostly includes photographs from churches in France, Germany, and the Netherlands, built mostly between the 20th and 21st centuries. Poirier will soon add more to the series as restrictions lift.

For more from Poirier, be sure to explore our coverage of the first works in Sacred Spaces. You can also find his entire collection of work on his website.

Photographer Thibaud Poirier has spent years documenting holy interiors of modernist European churches in his series Sacred Spaces.

Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, Montrouge, France (Erik Bagge, 1940)

Kruiskerk captured by Thibaud Poirier

Kruiskerk, Amsterdam (Marius Duintjer, 1956)

Saint-Martin de Donges captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint-Martin de Donges, France (Jean Dorian, 1957)

Saint-Rémy de Baccarat captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint-Rémy de Baccarat, Baccarat, France (Nicolas Kazis, 1957)

St. Johann von Capistra captured by Thibaud Poirier

St. Johann von Capistran, Munich, Germany (Sep Ruf, 1960)

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel captured by Thibaud Poirier

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, Colorado Springs (Walter Netsch, 1962)

Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette captured by Thibaud Poirier

Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Paris, France (Henri Colboc, 1965)

Saint Pierre Et Saint Paul captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint Pierre Et Saint Paul, Pau, France (André Remondet, 1970)

Notre-Dame-de-l'Arche-d'Alliance captured by Thibaud Poirier

Notre-Dame-de-l'Arche-d'Alliance, Paris, France (Architecture-Studio, 1998)

Saint Ignatius captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint Ignatius, Tokyo, Japan (Sakakura Associates, 1999)

Cathédrale de la Résurrection captured by Thibaud Poirier

Cathédrale de la Résurrection, Evry, France (Mario Botta, 1999)

Herz Jesu Kirche captured by Thibaud Poirier

Herz Jesu Kirche, Munich, Germany (Sattler, Allmann et Wappner, 2000)

Saint-François de Molitor captured by Thibaud Poirier

Saint-François de Molitor, Paris, France (Corinne Callies et Jean-Marie Duthilleul, 2005)

Thibaud Poirier: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Behance

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Thibaud Poirier.

Related Articles:

Photographer Captures Glorious Interiors of Modernist Churches Around the World

Photographer Richard Silver on His Architectural Photography and Vertical Churches [Podcast]

Photos of Abandoned Churches Display the Decadent Beauty Left Behind in Ruins

Glorious Interior Architecture of Copenhagen’s Vast Expressionist Church

Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at @sampir.fi.
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