I have many books by Carl De Keyzer but God Inc. was the first and still my favorite.
In 1990, De Keyzer, a Belgian, was awarded the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Grant which at least gave him some of the financial means to work on this project for a year. That same year, he became a nominee of Magnum Photos.
Together with his wife and their three-year-old son, they zigzagged across USA in search of answers for his one curiosity – what makes religion ticks?
God Inc. of course refers to God as a business, a corporation, and why not? Just look at the millions being generated and passing through in the name of God.
On his website, he wrote, “I was shocked to find that religion plays such an important part in American society, that it was so widely spread. One year long I wondered why Americans are so intense and emotional in their religious experience.”
Presented entirely in black and white, De Keyzer used the flash in many of the images, adding a feel of superpower luminosity. A lot of the characters who need to ‘stand out’ were certainly helped by this treatment.
I was also very drawn by the panoramic images. They are not just wide for the sake of being wide. To me it plays to the sense of scale of this phenomenon called organized religion.