Baptism is a very important activity in those faiths immersed in New Testament belief. It is a public affirmation of faith and is done before a group of people who witness the candidate’s confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Immersion in water symbolizes the washing away of sins and admission into the Church.
For many centuries full immersion baptisms were performed by Baptists in the non-tidal section of the River Thames upstream from London. It was one of the more ancient rituals on the river. Several hundred people would congregate to watch the open-air ceremony.
My image was shot on-site at Hatchett’s Ford in the ancient town of Cricklade in Wiltshire 100 miles distant from London. Baptisms still took place here right up to mid-20th Century. Even today baptism ceremonies take place along the Thames on personal request.
Although there was no concern about the tide rushing in, it was still daunting being waist-deep in water carrying a valuable camera tethered to an expensive lap-top and surrounded by precariously balanced lighting equipment. (see the ‘Behind the Scenes’ video).