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An Introduction and Part I of The Iron Chariot

I contemplated my first Mad Art Lab post for a while before putting it up. This is going to be the first in a series of posts centered around photography and the Secular Movement. Specifically, they are going to be posts about photos that I feel represent my experiences in the Movement and the stories that have come out of those experiences. This theme is gigantic. I don’t know how I am going to be able to channel all of my stories in to the photos that I’ve taken over the years. That being said, I am going to try anyway. I made a little introductory video to talk a bit about the project and about how I got here (my first photo is beyond the video.):

The Iron Chariot Part I: A Coming Out Photo

The Coming Out Photo

I have decided that the the only first photo I could possibly choose is the photo I took the night I came out as an atheist to my parents. My mom cried. My dad tried to argue with me. That’s all I really remember about the actual conversation. Afterwords, I felt ashamed. I didn’t think that I had done anything wrong, but I felt as though I had. After sitting in my room for an hour, I decided that I couldn’t allow myself to feel ashamed anymore. I took a red sharpie out of desk, drew the scarlet “A” on my chest, painted my lips the same shade of red. I took a photo on my webcam and posted it on Tumblr. Even now, this grainy and over-proessed picture reminds me of the moment I chose to become a secularist activist. It was my proclamation. It is the beginning of my Movement story.

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Monica Harmsen

Monica Harmsen


  1. October 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I look forward to your posts! Welcome to Mad Art Lab!

  2. October 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Welcome to The Lab, Monica! And thank you for sharing your story with us and all of our readers.

  3. October 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Love the picture and the story behind it. Welcome 🙂

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