Hail Mary, Full of Grace

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Uploaded 16 Jun 2008 — 58 favorites
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© Laura Hartley
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Comments 52
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Photo Info
UploadedJune 16, 2008
TakenJune 16, 2008
Exposure1/5 sec at f/4.5
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length34 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

She spent a lifetime in search of the passion. It was found easily in bed, with those boys in college, in the back seat of the cars, the front door of her house, as her father sat in is favorite chair, waiting. But that was the easy kind of passion. The passion she sought was hard won. She sought the mercy of God, the forgiviness of sin, the passion of the Christ, the love of the Virgin Mary. The nuns had been filled with it, "I am married to Christ" And, "Pray, child pray, it will come. It will come." And she did, fervently, counting the rosary beads, begging from her savior her Hail Marys. But it did not come. Indeed, it never came.

She spent a lifetime in the quest for the knowledge, in the act of contrition, at the stations of the cross. But that fair, Irish Catholic girl never found her way through the Church.

Still, even now, she harkens to it, praying the rosary in times of stress, begging for Mary's guidance. Here, she prays, naked, alone, desperate, as though the portrait were a cliff from which she hangs, the rosary beads, her rope.

Faith eventually relieved her when it came to her, but the passion did not. Faith was the knowledge, that the passion was there, somewhere, however elusive. The passion, though never found by her in church, is known to her to exist throughout the world, waiting, waiting to be found during those dark nights of pain, or those moments of profound and purest joy. That is what faith is. The knowledge that however unseen, the passion exists, yet to be found.

"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."

52 responses

  • Frederic Frognier

    Frederic Frognier (Deleted) gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Very original pose

  • Photography Seven

    Photography Seven said (16 Jun 2008):

    so sensual

  • Laura Boston-Thek

    Laura Boston-Thek gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Beautiful Laura

  • Catherine Kurvink

    Catherine Kurvink gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Oh my goodness! Laura, how amazing this whole thing is. The photograph is beyond words.

  • John Linton

    John Linton said (16 Jun 2008):

    "And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
    shine until tomorrow, let it be.
    I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

  • Warren ~Mangione~

    Warren ~Mangione~ gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Wonderful photo and inspiring story! I too have prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary many, many times!

  • peggy gardner

    peggy gardner gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    very inspiring and beautifully done.

  • Robert Valenzuela

    Robert Valenzuela gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Very beautiful like always

  • Carlos Aviles

    Carlos Aviles (Deleted) gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    Well well. This is GOOD!

  • Kevin Leger

    Kevin Leger gave props (16 Jun 2008):


  • Ronnie Ginnever

    Ronnie Ginnever gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    inspired and inspiring...

  • Lindsay

    Lindsay gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    this is so amazing. how powerful.

  • Laura Hartley

    Laura Hartley gave props (16 Jun 2008):

    THANK YOU Jessie, and all, for taking a moment to walk in my shoes

  • Kiwi ana

    Kiwi ana (Deleted) gave props (17 Jun 2008):

    I love the passion in this photograph. Often such images are desperate, yours is not. Beautiful words Laura, they hit deep.

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (17 Jun 2008):

    just...damn...that's all can come with. Not too eloquent but in proportion to impact.

  • Simon Le

    Simon Le gave props (17 Jun 2008):

    Amazing capture Laura!

  • ! ! !glen Cohen! ! !

    ! ! !glen Cohen! ! ! gave props (17 Jun 2008):

    an outstanding work of true poetic and artistic beauty

  • Anne Mcginn

    Anne Mcginn gave props (17 Jun 2008):

    I understand you very well, being an Irish Catholic girl myself and this photo is unbelievably powerful. I always wanted to feel that way - to be taken by faith into a passionate fervor of ectasy, like the Christian mystics.

  • Jan Hoffman

    Jan Hoffman gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Amazing -- poetic, creative and hard hitting

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Faith is felt, not seen, this has feeling....

  • m.michael misislyan

    m.michael misislyan gave props (19 Jun 2008):

    Laura... I love this shot... awesome!!!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (20 Jun 2008):

    Beautiful work

  • Kevin Kabuki

    Kevin Kabuki gave props (20 Jun 2008):

    wild imagery. great work with this

  • Steve Wilson

    Steve Wilson (Deleted) said (20 Jun 2008):

    This really photographic art. You have created a genuine masterpiece.

  • Steve Hogle

    Steve Hogle gave props (21 Jun 2008):


  • Mark Gilliland

    Mark Gilliland gave props (28 Jun 2008):

    Wow...so beautiful and moving.

  • Ken McElroy

    Ken McElroy gave props (28 Jun 2008):

    It could be a clip from a Bergman film. Nice writing, great photo - the whole creative package.

  • Jose Vásquez

    Jose Vásquez said (6 Jul 2008):

    awesome shot!

  • Ankur Acharya

    Ankur Acharya (Deleted) said (6 Jul 2008):

    Thank you, Laura. The story, the photograph, thank you....

  • Ævar B. Jak.

    Ævar B. Jak. gave props (9 Jul 2008):

    Beautiful, artistic and powerful, exceptional work!!

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee gave props (11 Jul 2008):

    so great for the theme!

  • Farras Abdelnour

    Farras Abdelnour gave props (15 Jul 2008):

    Quite a suggestive and symbolic composition. Powerful.

  • James Moore

    James Moore said (27 Jul 2008):

    "Still, even now, she harkens to it, praying the rosary in times of stress, begging for Mary's guidance. Here, she prays, naked, alone, desperate, as though the portrait were a cliff from which she hangs, the rosary beads, her rope."
    that is quite beautiful and exceptionally disturbing to me at the same time. it hit me very hard and when trying to imagine it in my mind it was very chaotic but at the same time somehow familiar... nay, intimate. I quite often carry a rosary as a reminder of my chosen personal morals as well as a reminder of my triumphs over the hardships I have faced. As an Atheist I may see this from a far different perspective than most who have commented but I must say it is truly touching and I understand what you are trying to portray here.
    your photography is beautiful and this is no exception, but I suppose that goes without saying. I love the natural light. it is very exciting to me how light can portray a feeling of darkness, and this photo exudes darkness in an amazing way.

  • Emanuela Franchini

    Emanuela Franchini said (6 Aug 2008):

    amazing image, voted

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (7 Aug 2008):

    Oh yeah! It rocks!

  • peggy gardner

    peggy gardner gave props (7 Aug 2008):

    rocks on !!!

  • Mark Gilliland

    Mark Gilliland gave props (9 Aug 2008):

    P.S. Voted for.

  • Quenby Sheree

    Quenby Sheree gave props (11 Aug 2008):


  • Denman

    Denman (Deleted) said (14 Aug 2008):

    the writing really says a lot and is powerful, the image as well - but how did u create that affect, i mean it looks like an old print that you have re photographed?

  • Jan Hoffman

    Jan Hoffman gave props (16 Aug 2008):

    back to vote YES

  • Donna Whitecotton

    Donna Whitecotton gave props (28 Aug 2008):

    Laura, I love your work and this is you at your verrrrrry best!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (2 Sep 2008):

    Nice my vote

  • Sk Wier

    Sk Wier gave props (6 Sep 2008):

    Wow! Great photo! Perfect for the theme! I love the soft focus and also the light and shadow!

  • Patricia Shanahan

    Patricia Shanahan gave props (9 Sep 2008):

    I am really at a loss for words !!!! This is stunning ! GREAT, GREAT shot !

  • Kristen Bryant

    Kristen Bryant gave props (9 Sep 2008):

    amazing words and image. you've definiteley got my vote!

  • Barbara Gerstner

    Barbara Gerstner gave props (22 Sep 2008):

    Just came back to vote for this....such a moving image. How are ya btw...miss you!!!

  • Judy C

    Judy C gave props (23 Sep 2008):

    excruciatingly beautiful. much like religion itself.

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (30 Sep 2008):

    your photos are so full of emotion.....well done. well done

  • William Moore

    William Moore gave props (3 Oct 2008):

    powerful vted

  • Pablo Jimenez

    Pablo Jimenez gave props (16 Jan 2009):

    so much emotion!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (22 Mar 2010):

    Extraordinary......the light ~ !

  • Rhio9 (Rhio9)

    Rhio9 (Rhio9) (Deleted) said (8 May 2010):

    excellent imagery.

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