Rest in Peace, Dennis


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It is with infinite sadness that I must tell you that Dennis passed away suddenly last Friday. I write this on behalf of his wife and partner, PJ.

With his passing, Dennis leaves a gaping abyss in our lives. He was a man larger than life, zestful in his embrace of all that life offered. Readers of this blog enjoyed the excellence of PJ and Dennis’s photographic art, and the enlightening and entertaining musings that accompanied those featured photographs.

The power of Dennis’s writing derived from his encyclopedic brain: he brought his vastly read knowledge to every subject he wrote about, whether history, or philosophy, religion or geometry, music or poetry. Via Lucis isn’t simply a photography blog. It isn’t simply an art and architecture blog. It is a brief—and intriguing—glimpse into the mind of one of the artists who brings these Romanesque churches to life through photograph and word.

Battling with Faith

Throughout the years, Via Lucis readers responded most strongly to Dennis’s quest for deeper understanding, his sometimes combative seeking for Truth and faith, and his near-speechlessness when he recognized the necessity of God. “I discovered, not by intention, when the church sang to me: at the very least, there is something in every human being that has a need for God. . . . It was terrifying to me when I realized it. It had never dawned on me.”

In his writing, Dennis professed that he sometimes despaired, the madness of the world overwhelming him. He never hid that fact from his readers. Rather, he let his demons loose, and tried to make sense of them, in light of the churches they photographed and what they mean to humankind in general.

“The long dark nights magnify our solitude and lay us to waste. The world is mad and we just don’t know what to do,” wrote Dennis. “As individuals we believe ourselves peaceful and righteous, but somehow as a race we are possessed by a madness of blood-lust and destruction. We are so because in our little private worlds of peace and righteousness, we believe others are evil and mad. . . .

“Is the madness that surrounds us a sign that we being destroyed, or that we are simply destroying ourselves? Is there a reason that we stand at the precipice of disrupting the careful balance of nature that nurtures life as we know it? We must ask the question, because there is a difference between the madness that we see today and that which preceded. Today, the madness destroys not just men, but more apocalyptically, it threatens to obliterate a world. . . .

“We can only hope that this suffering and madness eventually will yield a purpose and a meaning, that it is not hollow and purposeless.”

Of the beauty that he and PJ found in the churches they photographed, Dennis wrote, “But I do not believe it is suffering experienced that creates beauty, but suffering endured. It is this suffering endured that we find in all that is truly beautiful, and the intermediary step of creation allows us to gaze at even the greatest suffering and find the great human dimension of beauty.

“Medieval man understood this completely while contemplating the suffering of the Christ Redeemer. The sacrifice was enough to make men and women weep with sorrow, but their eyes looked up at these magnificent churches to find the most moving and beautiful representations of the cruelest of crucifixions, transforming pain into salvation.

“It is not the pure beauty that moves me to tears, but something contained within that beauty—the suffering that made it necessary. Sophia Loren once said ‘If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful.’”

Hope in the Ineffable

Their photographs and blog posts are journeys of discovery for those who read the blog and view the photographs, but they are also journeys of discovery for Dennis and PJ.

In those churches both Dennis and PJ find hope, the hope of centuries past that speaks to them today. “Although not a practicing Catholic, there is a sense in which I am profoundly moved by the concept of the Virgin Mary as expressed in the Middle Ages. To touch and handle Throne of Wisdom Madonnas like Notre Dame d’Heume or Notre Dame de Vassivières links me to the fervor of veneration for the Mother of God that led to the creation of the great cathedral of Chartres as her home on earth. It moves me when I see the simple beauty of the Sedes Sapientiae Madonna with her implied knowledge of the sacrifice of her son, and it is possible to sense the deep feeling and kinship expressed by the artist. This is no simple idol, but the most human response to the most human of the venerated saints. God used a human being to create his son and Mary is the mystical link between our own humanity and the divine.”

“Much of my writing is done late,” wrote Dennis, “after I awake from sleep in the middle of the night. I get up and look at the churches that PJ and I photograph. Often something happens that is hard to describe—I am so moved by the churches that I begin to weep. I don’t think that these are tears of sadness or loss, but in response to some characteristic of beauty found in stones wrenched from the earth, shaped, and arranged by human hands. These most earth-born objects were raised high in the air to became part of a soaring monument, a beauty indescribable.”

Dennis confided, “I long for our churches in France where PJ and I can sit quietly together, contemplating a monument to the higher purposes of our species.”

“In the quiet of our thoughts, our emotions drained, we are left with beauty that we cannot describe, perfections that we cannot express. We are left with the ineffable.”

Dennis was like Jacob of old, wrestling with angels. As I write this tribute to my brother, I am overcome with the belief that he has embraced his God at last, and now his struggle can end. He is one with the Ineffable.

A Memorial Page

A man of expansive interests and energy, Dennis shared much of his passion with each of you, the readers of this blog who responded thoughtfully to his observations, knowledge, and insights. Because we are certain that many of you will wish to respond to the news of his passing, please feel free to post your thoughts about Dennis and Via Lucis for PJ, for his family, and for the global Via Lucis community. Eventually, I shall gather your comments on a Memorial Page.

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78 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, Dennis

  1. I am overwhelmingly sorry for your loss. I have watched this blog for some time as I longingly wish to do the same thing. My life’s dream is to travel the world photographing churches. Although you are dealing with this loss I hope you continue with the work because from up above, I’m sure he’s looking on waiting for that next great photo of a spectacular church and he wants to go too!

  2. Just stunned….what a gift he and PJ have shared with us. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and the whole family.

  3. I’m just so grateful I was privileged to participate in this blog for a while. I came to admire and enjoy the postings and photos immensely, and I am, selfishly, forlorn at this news. I know the outpouring of love and appreciation will provide some measure of comfort to all the bereaved, those who knew Dennis and loved him personally, and those who watched, looked, listened, and responded from afar.

  4. Dennis and I shared many personal experiences and thoughts during our years together at UC Santa Barbara. We were both members of a local fraternity, BX, and I always found him to be a critical thinker and great friend. We have stayed in touch over the years and my daughter and her family live in Dayton which is not too far from where PJ and Dennis made their home. I had planned to visit them on my last trip to Ohio but unfortunately we could not find a time that worked for both of us. Rest in Peace old friend.

    Bernie and Sophie Weinzimmer

  5. I never met Dennis in person, but I feel as if I have lost a close friend. (He and I did briefly correspond when I first became a member.) I enjoyed his posts and love the photographs that he and P.J. shared. I can only begin to imagine the loss that she and his other family members and friends feel. I hope they can find some comfort in knowing that their work and his words touched many lives and made each of us a little better for the experience. While I cannot think of a way in which I can help P.J. with this sorrow, I am an architectural historian and gladly offer to help, if I can, as she goes forward with Via Lucis— which I hope she will do in time.

    This is a sad day.

    1. What a lovely tribute to Dennis. May the joy Dennis brought to so many be a comfort to PJ [with the Lord’s help]. I have saved so many posts to look over again: they will be treasured even more.

  6. Thank you Ann for sharing this sad news. You have found wonderful words to celebrate the friend, the guide, the photographer, the poet that I have admired and followed. He and PJ have shown places, times, and spirits that I, and most of the other readers, would not have known about, would never have visited. The loss is immense, but the legacy of images, stories and words will continue to be a treasure for all of us. I do not know how to express my sorrow, how to find a comforting word for PJ, you and your family. I hope you and his loved ones will find strength in knowing that Dennis was admired, respected and loved by so many throughout the world.

  7. I was waiting for the day your marvelous work would reach Portugal. We spoke about it once. It will never be.
    You and your work will be deeply missed.

  8. Dennis helped me survive after high school. I won’t ever forget him for that. He was a very gifted person, and it was easy to be in awe of such a great mind. I wish he were still with us, and I am sorry to hear the sad news of his passing.

  9. Beautifully written tribute, Ann. There’s nothing quite like a brother. Your loss is big but I know your pride in being his sister is so much bigger. Love to all the Aubreys.

  10. Thank you Ann, for sending me your post. I think Dennis wrestled with Catholicism versus a sense that there was more than what Catholicism revealed. But as to art, the beauty of his photos are wonderfully peaceful, and enjoyable. Dennis meant so much to me, like an older brother only way smarter. He helped me a great deal as I was from a small town and was ill prepared for UCSB. I loved Dennis as a brother.

    Gary Anderson Las Vegas

  11. Dennis’s blog posts and photographs were an inspiration for me. I found the blog during my search for information and preparing for the Camino Frances, in 2014, and checked in regularly since then to view the images and read the stores. AI learned a great deal as a photographer on both what to photograph, and how to photograph the important details of the Cathedrals we visited. My deepest condolences to PJ, family, and friends who will surely miss him.

  12. My Dear P.J. You are not alone in this most solemn of days. Thousands of devotees weep with you. We have all lost a friend, a scholar, a man of eternity. The void is palpable. We are numb. You and Dennis opened our eyes to a world frozen in time. What you both have created has changed the narrative of what is possible when people work together to create and sustain history. This incredible wealth of knowledge will long outlive us all. We weep for your loss, but we rejoice in a life that made us all proud to be human.

  13. I’m crying over the loss of someone I never met. What a shock to read this message this morning. And to think we were all exchanging comments here on Friday (Australian Friday). What a man! A gifted photographer, writer, blogger, always responding to comments with kind words. I’ve visited a number of Romanesque churches in France because I first read about them in Dennis’s blog posts.
    I’m so sorry PJ and Ann. How hard it will be to live without him. Thank you, Ann, for writing this beautiful message, and thank you PJ for all the amazing photos you’ve taken and published here. I’m sure all of us who’ve followed Dennis hope that you’ll continue the yet unfinished photography of Romanesque churches. My life is better because of the Via Lucis blog. I thank God for it.
    Trish Worth

  14. May the God of love, the God of life, the God of beauty hold his visionary servant Dennis deep into his loving embrace. And may PJ and Dennis’s family find some comfort in their terrible sorrow.

  15. This is heartbreaking news. Dennis was truly one of a kind. Brilliant, funny, creative and a genuine friend. I’ll always smile when I think of him.

  16. Whatever faith it was that brought your souls together, P.J ., it’s still there. Your photo of the open door says it all. It’s only the venue that’s changed…..

  17. Is there anything in the world more important to contemplate than man’s relation to the earth and the cosmos? As Dennis often reminded us, those that ignore man’s need to express his feelings of being and suffering, do so at their peril.

    I would equate the loss of Dennis Aubrey to a library or museum that has been lost, an archive of early film for which there is no duplicate, yet it is Dennis and PJ that have saved part of our rich heritage and collective unconscious for us. Thank you, Dennis, for living such a rich life and sharing it with us. In your sorrow, PJ, I hope there is no small realization that you are envied for the journey you took together. Thank you for making our lives richer.

  18. I can only extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to PJ and the rest of Dennis’ family. We had just exchanged some comments on his last post. I mourn his passing. I had hoped to meet Dennis and PJ in person one day, however God has other ideas. I treasure each post, comment, podcast or email from Dennis and PJ consider them as friends. The world is a smaller place for his loss. Requiem in pace, requiem in aeterna.

  19. I am so moved by this remembrance.

    There are no words, of my making, that could express the love and friendship I feel and felt for Dennis for the many years that have passed between our shared years at Carnegie Mellon. I will say that every time I was together with Dennis I loved that he would remind me of his surprise that I handily beat him in several chess matches in our years at CMU. His humility in reliving those moments as his eyes twinkled with a love and joy that good friends would understand will live in my mind and heart forever.

    He was a mountain among men and a loyal friend.

    I already miss him dearly.

  20. My deepest condolences to PJ for her loss. This was so sudden, but even if it hadn’t been, it leaves a huge gap in all the lives he touched through his wonderful insights that he and PJ shared so generously with the readers of this blog. Sending love and prayers.

  21. Goodbye my friend. Thank you for opening our eyes to the beauty that you saw. It never is the right time is it? May we all cherish every day as a gift.

  22. This is such sad, heartbreaking news. And Ann, you wrote such a beautiful send off for him here. Dennis and I spent so much time together from the early 80s until he left California in the mid-90s that we became more than just friends. We became brothers. And even though we only met sporadically over the following years, it felt like no time passed every time we got together. Dennis’ ability to absorb and retain knowledge was amazing and he was especially articulate. But most importantly, Dennis had a beautiful, caring heart. I will miss him greatly.

  23. This wonderful blog and it’s accompanying photography has been such a gift, one that I often took for granted in my own chaotic life, as though it and Dennis would magically go on forever and I could catch up later. Alas, we all go blithely along forgetting most of the time that any day may be our last. Fly free, Dennis, dear and faithful servant! You have been kind and generous in so many ways, and for that, I am grateful and hope to remember your example in my own life. May you rest in peace, and love, and joy, and may your loved ones find solace in the myriad gifts and clues to the beauty and mysteries of this life you left behind.

  24. The greatness of an individual is measured by the impact that person had on the lives of others and in that sense Dennis touched a lot of people with his unparalleled photography and narrative.

    The world has lost a luminary but his legacy lives on. I count myself fortunate to have met him and PJ. I will always remember him as a talented, passionate and generous person who lived life to the fullest.

    My heartfelt condolences to PJ and his loved ones.

  25. ALBERT PINTO
    I am devastated by this dreadful loss…Here, in France, among the treasures of Romanesque architecture and arts, where Dennis and P.J. felt totally at home, my wife Monique and I shared with them some of the most enriching and unforgettable moments in our lives. Their pictures and Dennis”s writings constantly accompany my own research in medieval iconography.
    I am particularly moved by the fact that Dennis wrote us the day before passing away to recommend the post about his extraordinary “testimony” and we will bear for ever in our hearts the privilege to have shared in a way some of his last thoughts.
    P.J. and Ann, please accept our deepest sympathy.
    Albert and Monique Pinto

  26. What a sad new, somehow there were suggestion of Dennis health issues through previous posts, but this has come to a sad end.
    I’ve appreciated for a long time pictures and texts accompagning this blog, going the same way as I, following Zodiaque trails and conversations with the late Angelico Surchamp who left us recently too.
    I feel this new loss, and I hope PJ will continue the passion and memory of what they have both made for this would be a double loss if this great journey would end too.

  27. What for bad news!

    I’v never meet him. But his work and soul will be forever in our minds!

    Rest in Peace, Denis!

    Thanks for this message!

  28. Very saddened to hear of this loss and most heartfelt condolences to all. Though only a recent reader of his inspiring posts I greatly appreciated his sharing of his love of the older (French) churches, stirring my own memories. Thank you Dennis and rest in peace.

  29. I was too shocked on reading of Dennis’ death last night to write a comment then. I had not discovered Via Lucis until recently and have been overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of his photographs and the obvious love he had for his subject. I see that I have many many posts to catch up on and he has certainly left a wonderful legacy for us all to enjoy and ponder over.
    It always impressed me that he often took the time to reply to our comments.
    I wrote a comment on his last post which sadly he would not have seen.
    My deepest sympathy goes to PJ and I shall indeed remember you both when I am soon in Lourdes.
    May his soul and the souls of all the departed rest in peace.

  30. I’m so very sorry to read this news this morning. PJ and Ann, I send my deepest condolences. I hope that Angelico Surchamp’s spirit was somehow there to meet Dennis and they are even now discussing those churches they loved best. I’m so very glad that I was able to connect them as they were kindred souls. Take care.

  31. My deepest condolences. Deniss helped me a lot when I asked him for pictures of the “mullion of Suillac” for my final degree project two years ago. I am very grateful for the help he gave me.

  32. The power of his faith came through in every photograph of these ancient and holy places. I feel privileged to have shared his journey for a brief time. Prayers of comfort and solace to his family and his many friends and followers. Joy and Peace to all.

  33. So sad!What a shock….. My thoughts go to his family and PJ…….
    No doubt he will be remembered during a very long time and long after…..
    Ivette

  34. The work that Dennis and PJ did documenting medieval churches is wonderful. For us it has been an ongoing history lesson and travelogue. This majestic archive of photographs and commentary, and Dennis’ soul-searching analysis, has been a source of inspiration for many people.

  35. I am so sorry to read of Dennis passing. He and PJ published such beautiful history and pictures of all that is treasured . Since I’ve been unable to travel I looked forward to every entry. Thank You Dennis. Rest In Peace.

  36. My deepest condolences to PJ and Dennis’ family.

    I’m sorry I do not speak English very well. I have been a follower of Via Lucis for many years, and it was always difficult for me to post a proper comment after the riot of art, insight and good taste that Dennis and PJ included in each post. And now? What can I say after such a terrible news? I have lost a friend. A friend from the digital world whom I had the fortune to meet in the real world. In my country Romanesque churches abound, but not the geniuses of Romanesque architecture photography. A few years ago I had a meal in a small town called Esponellà with two of these geniuses: Dennis and PJ. And a short time later I had the immense honor of Dennis dedicating one of his posts to me: “All hail Covetotop”. Can you imagine my surprise? It was a post full of friendship, sensitivity and good humor. In other words, it was a post oozing with Dennis.

    Via Lucis means the path of light… Dennis has reached the end of that path, camera in hand. No doubt; by now, he is taking the most beautiful of his pictures: the portrait of the Creator of light.

  37. I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve been following their podcast from the beginning and I fell in love with Dennis’ desire to share the beauty he and PJ discovered in each church they visited. His work inspired me to pursue my love for religious art and architecture history because of his passion for it. I cannot imagine what you all are going through. He was an inspiration. My heart breaks for you all.

  38. Such tragic news. I only met Dennis through Via Lucis, but he and PJ have brought so much light into our world. I thought of him as friend and would be proud to continue to think that. Rest in Peace my online friend.

  39. Very sorry to read about Dennis’s departure. His insightful comments about romanesque churches along many years were very helpful as well as his and PJ’s magnificent photographs. Wishing PJ and family all the peace God can give you. Tania

  40. For me Dennis brought these churches to life for those of us who will never get a chance to walk their halls. To me there is no greater fath than the power of these pictures. I’m glad I was fortunate to be able to follow this amazing experience . Dennis is gone but his writing and pictures give us a greater understanding …and so he lives on.

  41. A gentle genius, wildly entertaining and excessively kind. My love and condolences go out to his family, PJ’s family and all of his friends and fans.

  42. Sincères condoléances à sa famille et à tous ses proches. J’étais admiratif de la façon de Dennis de parler de la France et de son amour si humble à partager sans relâche sa passion émerveillée pour l’art roman, avec au delà de ses splendides photos, une voix pleine d’émotion. Dennis était pour moi un modèle et je veux prendre ici une part de votre tristesse, en souhaitant profondément à Dennis de continuer à vivre sa passion au delà de ses espérances.

  43. God bless PJ, Ann and the remainder of Dennis’ family with peace and love amidst your unimaginable grief.

    I shared Dennis’ “Testimony” of Friday with my father (whose faith seems well-settled) and my daughter (whose basic faith is at a crossroads), on Monday upon learning of Dennis’ passing but before Ann’s beautiful post. It moved both of them beyond words and into the wonderment of God…. which is hard to do to either of them, albeit from totally different perspectives. Yet they knew nothing of Dennis, PJ or Via Lucis prior to my visit/call with them. If Dennis’ writing and passing affect them so greatly, imagine the effect on others familiar with Dennis and/or his and PJ’s work (is there a difference between them and their work?)!

    Dennis’ “wrestling with angels” followed by his personal revelation last week just before his passing frightens, comforts and emboldens me all at the same time. I had reason to work with Dennis and PJ in a professional capacity, but Dennis’ wrestling caused my own wrestling with my relationship with God and my purpose on this Earth, as I’m sure has happened with many readers. That is a wondrous thing in and of itself, and yet Dennis topped that, as his revelation on Friday in his Testimony now emboldens me to say and truly believe that YES, God is real, and that he loves us, me included. A wise man once wrote that our purpose on this Earth is to help others become closer to God, and then to return to Him. Dennis undoubtedly fulfilled that purpose, and then some.

    Thank you PJ and Ann for sharing Dennis’ talents, struggles and discoveries with all of us, and for using your own talents and labors, and pouring your hearts and souls into the photographs and writings, to further Dennis’ and your message. For me, the message I take simply the discovery of God’s love, and the utter awesomeness of man’s ongoing efforts to know and worship their God through the incredible churches which you have photographed and written.

  44. Ann, what a beautiful tribute to your brother, I am deeply saddened by this news.
    Condolences to you and all of the family, from your New Zealand cousins.

  45. Dear PJ and Ann Aubrey Hanson and friends,

    Along with everyone else, I too am shocked and stunned at Dennis’ untimely passing.
    The so-aptly named Via Lucis blog has been an escape for all of us from the highly transitory contemporary to the timeless eternal and divine truths which Dennis’ artistry and skill so profoundly plumbed. Also, to read his personal thoughts combined with the photography he produced was an open invitation to participating in his own illustrated spiritual autobiography. He gave so much of himself by sharing his work and his searching thoughts for God.

    Like everyone, I have saved all the Via Lucis blogs and now, though he truly belongs to God and to the ages, he has shared immensely the divine with all of us. Parce, Domine, et Deo Gratias.

  46. Je suis très triste de cette disparition, mes sincères condoléances à a famille et mes meilleures pensées, il reste toujours une partie de nous.
    Jean-François Bogue.

  47. P.J. When you are ready to return to France, you will not be alone. Count me, and hundreds of other Dennis and P.J. devotees, as fellow travelers. Seriously, I would love to accompany you on your next adventure. Your valuable work will go on….

  48. Thank you to all of our Via Lucis friends. Your words sustain and comfort me. Dennis’ love was my beacon, my way of light. It was always an honor to share our passion, thoughts and art with all of you.

    In peace,
    PJ Aubrey

    1. PJ, my name is Greg Littman and we met many years ago in Los Angeles when you guys lived here. I was informed of Dennis’s passing by Alexander Wright and I am devastated by this loss. Dennis was very important to me in the early eighties when I was just finding my way out in the wilds of LA. I will always cherish the time we spent together hanging out with Flash and shooting various odd short film ideas as well as Dennis telling me he was doing a play on Billy the Kid at the Wallenboyd and which part did I want to be in it. Such a mentor and GREAT Dude he was to so many as is evident here, by the many who are broken by this news. You have my heart and soul for this untimely passing and I wish for you all that can be good in the time going forward.

  49. Dennis and PJ’s photos are more than just good photography, they are art and history. As someone who likes to photograph architecture, particularly historic architecture, I learned lots from their photos and website on the technical and artistic aspects, as well as how to capture and present the history of an historic building.

    Our vacation this year was to Portugal. In each cathedral or monastery, I would ask myself “How would Dennis and PJ approach this church? What would they see? How would they tell its story?” I’m a much better photographer as a result.

  50. Dear PJ and Ann,

    Thank you Ann for sharing this beautiful homage to Dennis, and for including some his profound reflections about the world, life, and the heritage of those who preceded us in art, sculpture, architecture, constructions and much more.

    It has been such an honor to meet Dennis and PJ through American Friends of Chartres. They both have enriched my life — not only through their incomparable photographic work and passion for Gothic and Romanesque churches –but also and possibly even more, for their extra-ordinary human qualities. Whether through the few opportunities that we had to meet in person over the years, or through phone calls, emails exchanges and, of course, the blog, Dennis always conveyed such a rarely equalled sense of kindness and generosity. Dennis gave us his talents, his passions, his knowledge… and so much more, including his time… I remember that once he called me while he was on the road, just to say that he had not forgotten to call me back and that he would once he would have reached his destination… which he did of course. There was not a matter, small or big, for our organization (pr for me personally as the head of the organization) that I could not raise with him. As one of the advisors to the Board of Trustees of American Friends of Chartres, he always enriched our discussions with creative ideas and practical suggestions. I was so moved when he sent me a message after his illness that now that he was again in good health with his energy was back he wanted to do more for American Friends of Chartres, including a podcast. This was such a generous offer. He gave us the license to use his photographs in our promotional material: the magnificent photograph of the five lancets of the South Portal of Notre-Dame de Chartres (our inaugural project) which we have on our facebook page is his, and many more are on our website (www.friendsofchartres.org).

    I am including here messages received from AFC members of the Board of Trustees:

    “I will definitely see what we can do with PJ and Le Figaro.
    I was on a call with him 2 weeks ago and everything was going so well, we were discussing of an article for Le Figaro as I was going to meet one journalist to do a serie on Dennis and PJ amazing work and as they were coming to Chartres in the Fall. This is a terrible terrible news….very shocked about it.
    He is in the light now that he so much tried to capture in his masterpieces photos.
    May he keep inspiring us all, a great man.
    I will definitely see what we can do with PJ and Le Figaro. “.– Damien Balsan

    “We have lost a great friend and a great talent to our collective work of Chartres. His impressive photo of Chartres will always reminded us of his contribution. May he Rest In Peace.” — Kai Ping Chan

    “I deeply regret I never met Dennis, especially after reading the moving tributes you have paid to him. I feel I almost knew him, however, through his photos and the essay on Colonel Welborn Griffith on the AFC website. http://www.friendsofchartres.org/aboutchartres/colonelwelborngriffin/. l am terribly sorry for the loss to his family, friends and colleagues at AFC. ” — Craig Kuehl

    “Incredibly sad and a shock. Dennis gave his talents generously, and was such a genuine and delightful person. I will miss seeing him and reading/viewing his fantastic blogs. His work brought life – and light – to the field of Romanesque and Gothic. Always a bright spot in my day.”
    With my best, Anne Sullivan

    “Oh my goodness, this is such a shock. I am so sad to read this news. What a vibrant person, Dennis. I only met Dennis and PJ once at the Cathedral. We had just had a conf call meeting and a few days later he was in Chartres. I started talking to him and when we realized who we both were and that we had just been in a call together, he gave me the biggest hug ever and we had coffee w PJ after my tour. He had a very bright light within him…”. — Anne Marie Woods, guide at Notre Dame de Chartres, France

    “Yes, a real shock and I am indeed sorry for Dennis’ family and PJ. Dennis was “there” when I first became involved in the Friends and it is hard to think of it without him. We have to make up for his lost energy.” — Madeline Caviness

    “Craig has taken the words right out of my mouth. I had hoped to meet Dennis one day. My deepest sympathies to his family.” — Ellen Shortell

    “Chers amis, nous partageons nos peines et nos joies… Bien fidèlement à vous tous”. — Servane de Layre Mathéus, President, Chartres, Sanctuaire du Monde

    “Quelle triste nouvelle . Merci de bien vouloir adresser mes plus sincères condoléances à son épouse et sa famille . J’espère que ce projet d’exposition photos verra le jour , il l’a tant souhaité.” —
    Isabelle Vincent, Deputy Mayor of Chartres, in charge of Culture

    Dennis and I were working on several exhibition projects of his and Pj’s photographs. With Isabelle Vincent, of the Chartres Municipality, we were working on the details of an exhibit for the Fall visit which they had planned. I already had discussions with the Morgan Library, as part of an event being planned for next year, and with the French Embassy in Washington D.C. We all want to pay tribute to Dennis’ work and continue his life’s work.

    I am so indebted to Dennis, and to PJ — without whom he would not have accomplished all he did and be who he became in his life journey. Ever since PJ’s initial message to me of Dennis’s passing, I have been overwhelmed by sadness and a deep sense of loss. I catch myself gazing at the sky in search of a new bright light, or thinking of the beauty of his work, or feeling the peace his artistic reflections conveyed. So many inspiring memories to treasure. Whether in the silence of a romanesque church or under the soaring vault of a Gothic Cathedral, the memory of Dennis will always shine.

    “Aura personne Lyra Clara modulamina”. Fulbert of Chartres, Bishop of Chartres 1006-1023
    (First line of his poem: De Philomeana – Le Rossignol – The Nightingale).
    “Que la lyre d’or fasse entendre des harmonies étincelantes”.
    ” May the golden lyre sound gleaming harmonies”.

    With all my love to you PJ, Ann, and your family.

    Dominique

    1. Thank you Dominique for sharing these. Dennis will live on in the memories of those whose hearts and minds he touched. I struggle for words.

      Love, PJ

  51. Will miss his inspirational musings! I agree with everyone who says a great light has gone out of this world and into the next. Dennis and PJ made the Medieval world so much more accessible to the general public. While Dennis questioned his faith, he led the way to faith for so many others. In his own way, Dennis reflected on the ambiguity of life and faith in the past and present, and he accepted and embraced it in the end. He expressed the ways that humanity really has not changed in 800 years, though the outward culture may be very different (the worries of death and hell no longer omnipresent). For bringing the light through his photographs, writing and, briefly, through his podcasts, Dennis Aubrey inspires. His work will be felt for generations. Condolences to PJ, Ann and the rest of the family

  52. Through following the blog for… wow, I think almost ten years, eventually I connected with Dennis on social media and he became very supportive of my own art. We both moved from the East Coast to (opposite corners of ) Ohio the same year and never quite managed to meet up in person. I am very sorry to hear that we will have to wait for the next world to meet and share our love of medieval architecture.

    Dennis’ love of beauty and sacred spaces was a faith in its own way and an encouragement to many as he and PJ taught us more about the great works of art of history.

    I am sorry for your loss.

  53. Dear PJ and Ann,
    I am sharing two messages received, from people we had been working with about potential exhibits.
    “What a terribly sad situation. So sorry to hear this. Dennis’s work as a photographer was extraordinary—and he had so many talents. I wish you comfort.” Peggy (Margaret) Parsons, Curator of Film, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C

    “I’m so sorry about the sudden passing of Dennis Aubrey. Can imagine how you must feel and am grateful to you for taking the time to keep him in our thoughts. When you first introduced his work to Gallery colleagues, Dennis was so generous in sharing his portfolio and being of service. Thank you for making an effort to celebrate his work with an exhibition. We look forward to any updates on that possibility.nIt was a delight working with you. Please trust that you and Dennis’ family are in our thoughts.” Ali (Alison) Peil, Curator of Conferences, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

    “Thank you for passing along this sad news. I regret not having met him. His photos are absolutely beautiful, very soulful.” Robert Maxwell, Sherman Fairchild Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York.

    “What devastating news – I am so sorry to learn of Dennis’s passing. Thank you for sharing the link to Via Lucis Press. It is wonderful to witness the beauty of his images and the respect of his work in the field. ” Sarah Higby, Director of Development and Public Affairs, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York.

    Thinking of you. Dominique

  54. Dear PJ and Ann,
    I knew Dennis in his writings and photography, and send my sincere condolences on your loss, together with a stranger’s affirmation of the enduring creative role he played in so many people’s lives, and which this marvellous site continues to play.
    Simon Watney, art historian.

  55. I am so sorry to hear of Dennis’ sudden passing. My deepest condolences to PJ and the family. I am thankful for the art and passion he shared with the world. I had the pleasure of hearing you both speak in Cambridge on the joy of your photography. Sending you all peace and gratitude.

  56. I am so sorry to hear of Dennis’ sudden passing. My deepest condolences to PJ and the family.
    My inspiration for strollling along the roman churches in France, and make pictures myself.

    May he rest in peace.

  57. Revelation 21:4 says God will get rid of death. It’s an enemy that robs us of our love ones. I look forward to this promise along with many others of the coming kingdom. Matthew 6:9-10.

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