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By The Gates Of Dawn

By AlanBW
Above the old East Gate of Vilnius (also known as Ausros Vartai or the Gates of Dawn), there is a small chapel that houses one of the holiest symbols of the city, a painting of the Madonna. When a service is being held in the chapel, the arched window is opened and the Madonna can be seen from the street below. Worshippers gather there and go about their devotions to the Madonna. Known as the Vilnius Gate of Dawn Mother of Compassion, the painting of the Madonna (represented here without the infant Christ) has been worshipped by Lithuanians since the 17th century. Parts of the painting are adorned by a silver coating, thought to have been provided by Vilnius jewellers in around 1670. People of four nations and two religions worship the Madonna; Lithuania, Belarus, Poland and Russia; Orthodox and Catholic.

The image above is of one of the many devotees gathered there when we were fortunate enough to visit the Gates of Dawn at the time that a service was being held. She was alone and stood by a square pillar of one of the nearby buildings. I watched her closely for some time and her expressions varied from sheer joy at some parts of the service to a very serious countenance at others. I知 sure I saw a tear in her eye at one point. I waited until the service had concluded before attempting to capture a shot; I was most intrigued by her wonderful, lived-in features as well as her range of facial expressions. She remained for a while after the service had finished as the quite large crowd dispersed, possibly in a silent prayer of her own, before turning smartly and marching off with great purpose in her stride.

Tags: Woman Travel General Candid People Lithuania Vilnius Worshipper Portraits and people

Voters: Nettles, imander, woolybill1 and 119 more

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Comments


Nettles 13 England
3 Sep 2007 4:30PM
Wow, what a face and you have caught her so well.
There is so much character there, a superb candid. You are a master at these shots.
Excellent
Annette
imander 13 388 7 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 4:30PM
excellent portrait
ian
GlynnisFrith 14 23 3 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 4:33PM
Thought this was one of your Alan another superb capture
Glynnis
3 Sep 2007 4:39PM
Annette's right Alan, you are the master of these portraits caputured with a very candid eye. helen x
3 Sep 2007 4:48PM
Excellent candid/portrait Alan, well captured,
Fred.
Glostopcat 14 255 2 England
3 Sep 2007 4:48PM
Another excellent character study from the Master of the candid camera
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2377 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 4:59PM
This is a wonderful portrait of a strong, lived-in face. Strength of character, strength of faith. And a moment of genuine stillness.
Moira
3 Sep 2007 5:07PM
Your technique is excellent Alan, no studio or lights but just great portrait images every time, my attempts at this type of photography have been woeful, you make it look easy, great take, Adrian
AlanBW 15 20 England
3 Sep 2007 5:13PM
Many thanks Annette, Ian, Glynnis, Helen, Fred, Edmund, Moira and Adrian, very much appreciated - Alan
ChristineL 16 39 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 5:15PM
what a wonderful face, a lovely capture with very nice clarity and another very interesting write up,
Chris.
kinfatric 16 550 9 Scotland
3 Sep 2007 5:23PM
plenty of charater in her features
RockArea 14 18 3 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 5:33PM
Wonderful shot, Alan.

David
bricurtis Plus
15 2.4k 51 England
3 Sep 2007 5:34PM
Another fine candid Alan.Good BG isolates her nicely.
Brian.
AlanBW 15 20 England
3 Sep 2007 5:55PM
Thanks Chris, Kin, David and Brian, much appreciated - Alan
trissie 14 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 7:23PM
A wonderful expression Alan and a great candid.

Trish x
cats_123 Plus
17 5.0k 30 Northern Ireland
3 Sep 2007 8:06PM
down to a fine art
jeff
AlanBW 15 20 England
3 Sep 2007 8:23PM
Cheers Trish and Jeff - Alan
jaktis Plus
17 84 Sweden
3 Sep 2007 8:36PM
A great candid indeed

Peter
DolphinLady 15 54 1 Wales
3 Sep 2007 8:38PM
She looks to be a very purposeful lady Alan.
A wonderful capture.
Hilary
AlanBW 15 20 England
3 Sep 2007 8:42PM
Thanks Peter and Hilary - Alan
danbrann 16 640 17
3 Sep 2007 9:00PM
Great portrait Alan. I am off tomorrow and meeting George on Thursday. I will pass yor message of good will onto him.
myrab 14 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 9:22PM
What a stunner, her expression is priceless.
Myra
Possum 14 148 England
3 Sep 2007 9:30PM
You have such a knack of finding the faces with the most interest. I love the fact that there is still the hint of what would have been a glorious crown of auburn hair in her youth.
Allie
helenlinda Plus
13 374 22 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 9:48PM
Very interesting description and face
Helen
AlanBW 15 20 England
3 Sep 2007 11:01PM
Thanks Dan, Myra, Allie and Helen, very much appreciated - Alan
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2203 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2007 11:52PM
Though not a religious person myself, I can see dedication in this face, and I felt a little emotion there, too, before reading your description. What an expressive portrait.
chrissd 15 304 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 4:31AM
what an expression, superb photography Alan
vhris
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 6:15AM
Many thanks Pamela and Chris - Alan
amazing pf ...this is a great portrait
Buffalo_Tom Plus
14 2.3k 15 Wales
4 Sep 2007 6:55AM
A picture of contentment in my view.Beautiful capture Alan.
Tom.
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 7:04AM
Many thanks Sharon and Tom - Alan
imagio 14 12 1 England
4 Sep 2007 7:19AM
Excellent image Alan fab detail, glad to be 30.

Bernie
JudeC 14 6 3 England
4 Sep 2007 7:20AM
Wonderful people shot - JudeC
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 7:50AM
Many thanks Bernie and JudeC - Alan
bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
4 Sep 2007 8:57AM
a fine character study ,Alan..well taken....love this
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 9:22AM
Cheers Ollie, much appreciated - Alan
fentiger 19 920 24 England
4 Sep 2007 9:24AM
Great character study fascinating expression.
Albert
bayleaf 13 8 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 9:47AM
Great capture! John Smile
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 10:00AM
Many thanks Albert and John, much appreciated - Alan
jaspernina 14 1.0k Wales
4 Sep 2007 10:16AM
Love this one, well taken.
Stephen
electricsoup 14 30 England
4 Sep 2007 11:45AM
great portrait, love it!
GrahamBaines 13 39 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 11:47AM
Exscellent candid and as always a fascinating commentary to accompany. Thanks for sharing.


Graham
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 11:52AM
Many thanks Stephen, Nathan and Graham, much appreciated - Alan
Joline Plus
14 30 59 United States
4 Sep 2007 12:03PM
She looks like she has seen a large share of life. Both strength and sadness seem to be reflected in her face. I will have to google the Madonna, sounds very interesting.
riprap007 16 1.6k 37 England
4 Sep 2007 12:10PM
strong characterful portrait and great description
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 12:24PM
Many thanks Joline and Nicholas - Alan
dianah 14 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 12:34PM
Full of charcter..you always seem to find them. What a story to go with her..someone who hides her emotions if she can I think!
Brilliant Alan.
Di
firzhugh 16 13 New Zealand
4 Sep 2007 1:19PM
great portrait, like the expression
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 2:21PM
Thanks Di and Cornelia, much appreciated - Alan
nickyv32 Plus
13 135 England
4 Sep 2007 2:23PM
You have some amazing facial expression shots !
Brilliant !
Nicky
Chant57 Plus
15 395 3 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 2:48PM
A strong characterful portrait. Good candid work Alan, and as ever the narrative is absorbing. A cracking read - giving the viewer an insight into Lithuanian culture and the curcumstances under which the image was captured. I have come to look upon your narratives as an integral part of your work. Keep those absorbing reads and candid images coming!
C
phototime 14 8 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 2:56PM
Another great shot Alan,excellent description and like the expression.


Mo.
Rende 14 38 4 Netherlands
4 Sep 2007 3:12PM
Beautiful candid portrait; great expression.
Rende
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 4:21PM
Thanks Nicky, Chant, Mo and Rende, really appreciate your kind comments - Alan
Hop-A-Long 14 52 1 England
4 Sep 2007 4:22PM
Another excellent expression and another excellent shot. Nice one Alan.
Andy
4 Sep 2007 4:43PM
Lovely portrait! Interesting story.
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 4:45PM
Many thanks Andy and Benjamin - Alan
evelen 16 5 England
4 Sep 2007 6:12PM
you have some great portrait shots another excellent shot of this lady interesting story.
eve.
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 6:41PM
Cheers Eve, much appreciated - Alan
SRSmith 13 1 United States
4 Sep 2007 7:29PM
As this is my first visit to you gallery, my initial impression was of the elegance of the presentation, beautiful writing that seems to fill in the lines of their faces.
Portknockie 16 48 Scotland
4 Sep 2007 8:00PM
Hi Alan..she has a great face..and you have captured it so well..

Great narration to go with it....

Don
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 8:24PM
Many thanks Steve and Don, greatly appreciated - Alan
4 Sep 2007 8:56PM
What strengthof character there is in that face. Brulliantly captured Alan as always.

Val
summ3r 14 26 1 United Kingdom
4 Sep 2007 9:48PM
Another fascinating character shot, great capture
AlanBW 15 20 England
4 Sep 2007 10:05PM
Many thanks Val and Carole-Anne - Alan
joseph 15 England
4 Sep 2007 10:54PM
What a great portrait Alan...such great focus,and I love the crop...Click.
Brilane 14 5 12 Wales
5 Sep 2007 1:01AM
Excellent character study.
Brian
JimV 14 6 3 Canada
5 Sep 2007 1:19AM
An excellent candid portrait Alan, this lady's strong character shows well, enforced, as always, by your marvellous background story.
There must be times when you wish you could speak to your subjects afterwards, this being a good example.
Rgds., Jim
newy17 15 273 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2007 4:32AM
plenty of character there and beautifuly captured alan..
ian
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 6:41AM
Many thanks Brian, Jim and Ian - Alan
GlenD 14 United States
5 Sep 2007 9:22AM
Smashing Alan, always a great story with every shot. She's a great addition to you PF
Glen
derekv 13 3 England
5 Sep 2007 9:48AM
Superb ! There's a face with so much character.
Great storyline as usual. Wonderful work.
Derek
Rock 18 10 2 England
5 Sep 2007 9:59AM
You certainly are a master in People Observation.

Rock
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 10:06AM
Thanks Glen, Derek and Rock, I appreciate your kind comments - Alan
TracyK 15 4 Netherlands
5 Sep 2007 11:09AM
You have cptured some wonderful characters on your travels.
Tracy
iajacks 15 24 England
5 Sep 2007 11:22AM
love the expression on this one, the skin tones a good to in the stongly lit image.

well done ian
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 11:32AM
Many thanks Tracy and Ian - Alan
Gary_Macleod 16 166 Scotland
5 Sep 2007 1:21PM
great shot Alan

Gary
fossilized 16 79 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2007 2:26PM
Interesting candid - especially with the background detail to put it into context. Well spotted.
Jean
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 3:13PM
Many thanks Gary and Jean, much appreciated - Alan
5 Sep 2007 6:40PM
Ha ha, very well caught Al'. Great character shot.

John Smile
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 6:49PM
Cheers John - Alan
franken Plus
18 5.2k 4 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2007 7:27PM
Excellent portrait Alan ,Love the expression.

Ken
AlanBW 15 20 England
5 Sep 2007 8:34PM
Many thanks Ken - Alan
Pegon 15 78 1 England
5 Sep 2007 8:51PM
You've captured her features and expression superbly Alan, a brilliant shot.
Pete.
SandraKay Plus
13 233 4 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2007 8:51PM
Excellent hair colour and skin tones. The expression is perfect.
Sandra
Dotrob 15 Wales
5 Sep 2007 10:46PM
Great character portrait, super espression.
Dot
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 6:50AM
Many thanks Pete, Sandra and Dot, very much appreciated - Alan
annefromleo 15 11 1 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2007 7:10AM
great image and dialogue, well done Alan
Anne
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 7:56AM
Cheers Anne, very much appreciated - Alan
Barbaraj 14 450 England
6 Sep 2007 8:07AM
A very thoughtful woman. She is in a world of her own.
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 9:40AM
Many thanks Barbara, much appreciated - Alan
Misteree 14 2 Australia
6 Sep 2007 11:18AM
Wonderful image. You have captured a real character
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 12:21PM
Cheers Paul, much appreciated - Alan
Guillaume 14 119 2 United Kingdom
6 Sep 2007 4:45PM
Strong portrait. She's got a facisnating facial expression. Very well captured. You are really the Maestro for these sorts of captures Alan.
Paree 16 616 3
6 Sep 2007 5:39PM
a wonderful capture and a lovely story
so nice to know what lays behind the images
pareen
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 6:27PM
Thanks Guillaume and Maureen - Alan
norton 17 2 6 Jersey
6 Sep 2007 7:49PM
You have some great character shot's in your portfolio Alan and this is another one to join them.
Well captured..........

Tony.
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 8:10PM
Cheers Tony, very much appreciated - Alan
VOBEROI 14 1
6 Sep 2007 8:26PM
fantastic portrait as usual- love the naturalness of it!
AlanBW 15 20 England
6 Sep 2007 9:21PM
Many thanks Varun - Alan
wyatturp 15 2 England
7 Sep 2007 8:26AM
Excellent. well done Alan, the mind is deep

Doug
AlanBW 15 20 England
7 Sep 2007 8:39AM
Cheers Doug, much appreciated - Alan
A Booth 18 11 4 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2007 11:53AM
exellent - the lighting has brought out the strong character lines in the face. nicely composed and presented.
jkennedy 15 4 1 Indonesia
7 Sep 2007 2:03PM
Another excellent capture Alan. Great facial expression and detail. A most interesting description as usual. CLIK,
Joe
AlanBW 15 20 England
7 Sep 2007 2:24PM
Many thanks Alan and Joe - Alan
7 Sep 2007 6:49PM
Alan, so enchanting and real, such an excellent description, a wonderful sensitive approach, deserves all the approbation!

Mike
AlanBW 15 20 England
7 Sep 2007 8:43PM
Cheers Mike, many thanks - Alan
GeorgeRusky 15 1 4
7 Sep 2007 9:04PM
Hi Alan
We had a lovely time with Danny.
He is a very interesting man, friendly and kind!
Thanks for letting me know him and his charming wife!
Cheers
george
daringdaphne 16 82 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2007 10:06PM
She looks a strong character Alan: strong in her faith too. Lovely portrait, pity she cannot see it. Nice tones too.

(*.*)D.
AlanBW 15 20 England
8 Sep 2007 9:11AM
Many thanks George and Daphne - Alan
Rogerex 14 32 12 Australia
8 Sep 2007 1:57PM
A very expressive face, nicely caught.
Roger
AlanBW 15 20 England
8 Sep 2007 3:22PM
Many thanks Roger - Alan
8 Sep 2007 3:51PM
Superb capture

Graeme
panda 16 5 1 England
8 Sep 2007 3:57PM
Magnificent character portrait.

Regards Phil
AlanBW 15 20 England
8 Sep 2007 4:15PM
Thanks Graeme and Phil for your kind comments - Phil
These expressions are timeless and most interesting to see, cracking p/f
AlanBW 15 20 England
8 Sep 2007 8:36PM
Many thanks Graham - Alan
ChiliMan 14 135 17 Singapore
9 Sep 2007 3:50AM
Excellent candid portraiture as always, Alan Smile

Andrew
AlanBW 15 20 England
9 Sep 2007 8:38AM
Cheers Andrew, very much appreciated - Alan
9 Sep 2007 10:46AM
She is wonderful
Sue
AlanBW 15 20 England
9 Sep 2007 10:53AM
Thanks Sue, thanks everyone - Alan
Mikelane 13 1 Wales
9 Sep 2007 1:13PM
Well capture .The facesays it all.
Mike
AlanBW 15 20 England
9 Sep 2007 4:48PM
Many thanks Mike - Alan
RobinChapman 14 63 Scotland
10 Sep 2007 4:34PM
Great capture. Nice pin sharp portrait. Well done
Robin
AlanBW 15 20 England
10 Sep 2007 4:56PM
Cheers Robin, much appreciated - Alan
sandrish 17 36 United Kingdom
10 Sep 2007 6:27PM
Superb capture!

Sandra
AlanBW 15 20 England
11 Sep 2007 6:47AM
Cheers Sandra, much appreciated - Alan
Gaz_H 14 150 1 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2007 1:11PM
Great portrait Alan and lovely write up as always.
AlanBW 15 20 England
11 Sep 2007 2:00PM
Cheers Gary, much appreciated - Alan
Dave87 13 42 5 England
15 Sep 2007 5:57PM
This is lovely. Like this portrait a bundle. And so does everybody else looking at the number of clicks. I think you can safely mark this one down as a job - very well done. Smashing shot.

Dave.
AlanBW 15 20 England
15 Sep 2007 6:26PM
Thanks Dave, much appreciated - Alan
sputnki 16 10 Canada
23 Sep 2007 6:05PM
Another superb personal portrait!

Doug
AlanBW 15 20 England
24 Sep 2007 6:50AM
Many thanks Doug - Alan
28 Sep 2007 4:03PM
Great portrait.
Mark
AlanBW 15 20 England
28 Sep 2007 5:58PM
Many thanks Mark - Alan
CaroleA 14 5 3 England
30 Sep 2007 10:14AM
As ever I love your description. A great character study and an image taken with that love of humanity you always show.
AlanBW 15 20 England
30 Sep 2007 10:30AM
Many thanks Carole - Alan
DSV 13 2 Denmark
27 Oct 2007 6:55PM
It really makes me smile.
photophantom 13 108 3 Philippines
13 Mar 2008 12:30PM
Very expressive face. Good write up.
Dennis
AlanBW 15 20 England
13 Mar 2008 4:41PM
Many thanks Dennis - Alan
oll1e 13 57 2 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 2:55PM
deep in thought and captured very well alan ,really enjoy your shots
ollie

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