I had been shooting the members of the Jacques DeMolay Memorial Lodge No. 305 as a hobby for a couple of years now, ever since my husband was accepted to their lodge late in 2006. Back then I had a digicam and shot whatever I could. When I got a DSLR two years ago, I obtained permission to shoot at the Scottish Rite Temple, because my husband and I were also given the task to build and maintain the Lodge website.

The Scottish Rite Temple on Taft Avenue

Last year I did the portraits that you can find on their website, and this year I did the same plus a few snapshots during the 19th Installation of Officers last Saturday, 28 January 2011.

The Officers of JDML 305

But something happened during the Worshipful Master’s speech this year that caught me completely off guard. WM Manny Gudito started his speech by thanking everyone present, and then later on started an unprecedented awarding of tokens to people who have in one way or another helped the lodge through the years. When WM Manny started telling the audience why the lodge website did not have a dearth of photos I thought he was going to say it was because the lodge had quite a number of hobbyist photographers, which was true. And then he called my name.

WM Manny Gudito, myself and Bro. Marshal Grig Misiona

My initial expression was, as one Bro. described it, indescribable. I had no idea it was going to happen and, days later, I still get a glow when I remember that moment. For the first time I walked on the floor, escorted by the Marshal, to the East where the Worshipful Master expressed his thanks in front of the entire audience. In a Masonic lodge, the East is where the Worshipful Master and dignitaries are seated.

As the Marshal escorted me back to my place in the hall, several things were going through my mind. Did anyone take pictures? The photographer’s lot is almost always never to have one of herself. Did I look OK? I should have put make up on, was I hunched, did my chin double up, did I tuck my tummy in. All these things I tell people I take pictures of is something I always forget to do when I’m facing the camera.

I found a photo by Bro. Wesley Chua of Mencius Lodge No. 93, who graciously permitted me to use the photo that you see above. But even if there weren’t any pictures of that moment, it is an experience that I will never forget.

First time to the East

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