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Small, white wooden chapels scatter throughout the east side of Austin. These humble structures stand in contrast to larger-than-life places of worship, whose grandiosity is exemplified through the archaic Gothic architecture or the contemporary, suburban “superchurches.” Some of the chapels, with paint peeling in their old age, aren’t unfamiliar with the sight of empty pews during Sunday service. Others maintain their strong congregation despite the rapid gentrification of East Austin, which only exacerbates the increasing loss of interest in religion among the younger population.

The aim of this project is to document the present East Austin churchgoing community while also exploring the historical roots of these tiny chapels, their congregations, and how they shaped the east side of the city.

All photos were developed, printed, and sepia-toned in the darkroom.

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