Again and Again is a book project photographed from January to April of 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The book takes viewers on a wandering path exploring the neighborhoods and encountering the people of Christchurch. At the time, the area is still encountering near-daily tremors a year after a significant earthquake and severe aftershocks destroyed much of the central city and numerous homes in the coastal suburbs.
I lived in Christchurch for about half of 2004, and my favorite spot to watch the sun rise, a cliff top spot in a suburb called Sumner, fell into the sea with the earthquakes. The beauty of the spot never left me and I had dreamed of one day going back with family and loved ones to show them the spot, but it’s not there anymore.
The resulting project is a study that was born out of a desire to explore the impermanence of place and how we cope with, or are affected by constant change and uncertainty. Christchurch is well known by its nickname “The Garden City,” and although there wasn’t much infrastructure being rebuilt yet when I was there, the land had already started to sprout anew in both new and expected places.
— Peter Hoffman, Chicago, Illinois, USA
The suburbia that I live in tends to be a homogenized landscape. The inhabitants of my town, and towns like mine, often drive past a plethora of diverse environments masked by the unassuming architecture that sprawls across the space we occupy.
With the intent of simply visiting new places and trying to understand a bit more about the diversity that surrounds me, I set out to document the spaces that various religious institutions occupied, and observe the physical impact of spirituality in the landscape.
Some spaces were as small as a storefront in a strip mall and others had their own large swaths of land complete with campuses and never-ending parking lots. During the project (which I often think about picking back up) I also attended services and spoke to the leaders of the different institutions. While this is not by any means an exhaustive method of spiritual pursuit, I came to a personal conclusion that many of these institutions, taken at face value, were pursuing unique ways of what appeared to be mostly similar ideals. The pursuit of these ideals just manifest themselves through a variety of arrangements and environments.
This image is from what is one of the largest non-denominational Christian congregations in the area, Calvary Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois.
— Peter Hoffman