The Pope is Dead....

Fifteen to twenty days after the Pope's death, the Cardinals meet to elect the next Pontiff. The election, known as a conclave, is held in a sealed and secure part of the Sistine Chapel. The ballots are burned after each vote, and if the vote is unsuccessful, a substance is added to the fire to produce black smoke. Thus, black smoke indicates to the waiting crowd that the voting continues, while white smoke signals that a new Pope has been chosen.

The photos above were taken over the same few days this was taking place in Rome. However in this case the smoke was produced by a stolen car that had been set on fire. The smoke turned white whilst the fire was being put out. I was drawn to this coincidence yet extreme contrast in location; In Rome thousands were completely focused on the subtle colour alteration of a plume of smoke, in anxious anticipation. In Manchester the plume of smoke signalled car crime and vandalism; here the colour change goes unnoticed.


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