Why I photograph

DSC_1865A while back someone asked me why I pursue photography. The short answer, I said, is easy: photography is worship.

The longer answer, while essentially the same as the short, has to do not only with worshiping God for what he’s done, but to track what He’s doing and see where He’s been.  Photography is God-hunting.

Or perhaps I should say, photography is like going on a scavenger hunt God set up.  God leaves clues for us, we pick them up. The secret is that, at least for me, the clues is easier to see through a camera. The camera helps me focus, literally and spiritually. It helps me magnify and get close while simultaneously stepping back for the big picture. While some might see the frames of a photograph limiting, as with many creative pursuits, boundaries can sometimes be helpful. There is something about looking through a camera, or framing a painting, or anchoring a sculpture, that can help us focus without getting lost in the vastness of possibility. I could take a picture of anything, but why would I? I need something to draw me in. Conversely, I could photograph ordinary things and make them look phenomenal via Instagram or Photoshop (depending how committed I feel), but why would I?  I want the photograph to document God’s clue, just as I found it–same light, same color, same moment chronicled.

I photograph to treasure and share with others what God decided to show me, whether I saw it on the other side of the world or in my own living room. I want to look at the clues from different angles to see how they change in light, shadow, and significance. I can come close and back up, see what it means to appreciate the leaf and the tree at the same time. I want to have a conversation with God that wordlessly draws us together in a focused calm, living in the moment.  I want to sit in the tension between the nature that I can understand and the supernature that I can’t (yet). My camera is an inductive tool; with my camera, I can observe my surroundings, refocus to interpret, and shoot to apply.

Here are some recent European Scavenger Hunts. Enjoy!

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1 Comment

Filed under Inspiration and Creativity, Uncategorized

One response to “Why I photograph

  1. Pingback: So we ran away to Puerto Rico: Photo Highlights | Learning to Whistle

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