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Our lovely Nativity story dolls will be travelling again this year during Advent. Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the kings will be looking for shelter on their journeys.You are not too late to offer them a resting place on thier journeys - contact Amanda Harwood.

Las Posadas (The Inns), we are told, is a religious activity established in Catholic Mexico, spreading from Mexico to parts of the USA as well as through Spain and Italy. Over the nine days up to Christmas Eve they celebrate Mary and Joseph travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem ‘in search of a safe refuge where Mary could have the baby Jesus’.

Posada at URC

By the time the Posada idea has got to Broxbourne URC we have dolls representing the Holy party, Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Kings, divided up to travel separately around the houses of the church members for a night or two at each place, eventually meeting up in the church service before Christmas Eve.

Beyond prayerfully remembering the happening,at each handover the church folk hosting are expected to have a chat over tea or coffee with the recipients to widen their group of friends.

Hence the full group of dolls are never seen together except as quickly assembled during the church service. So the idea here is that after the Christmas excitement has passed to put them all together more carefully for a group photograph.

Dorothy Blatcher was on hand to set up this group display, bending legs where possible in order for some dolls to sit, giving varying heights in the gathering.

Next she particularly chose to have Joseph to the left of Mary which would balance his height with that of the Kings.

With fixed heads it was tricky to get every doll to look somewhere appropriately. Eventually we got the arrangement to be satisfactory using window light.

Posada using window light

As you know, beyond studying the background, having got the arrangement the great secret for a picture is to study the use of lighting, its source, strength and direction.

Posada even artificial light

This was a second choice using the artificial room light which made less of the back cloth, again lighting the whole group evenly with no special emphasis on Jesus.

For the third shot we narrowed down the directional light from an Anglepoise, by making a snoot of discarded Christmas wrapping paper to centre the light on Jesus.

Posada directional light

The gorgeous array of clothing is all the work of member, Jane Kemp, living near to Saffron Walden. With dolls obtained by Rev David Bradburn, she dressed the whole party for the first use fiour years ago.

See which lighting effect you prefer.

Gordon Anderson