Spiritual Photography?

Acadia-scenic-054“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

Yesterday I had the privilege of leading a photography workshop for a wonderful group of people in Morehead, Kentucky.  About midway through the program a gentleman asked me an interesting question?  He asked, “Why do you photograph?”  The question made me pause so he went on to ask the question a different way, “What makes you pick up a camera?”  In the eighteen years I’ve been photographing seriously I don’t think anyone has ever asked me these things.

I don’t remember my exact reply but I indicated to him that one reason is I am drawn to beauty and enjoy being able to capture what I see with a camera.  I also added that because of my faith I believe that there is a spiritual dimension to my photographing God’s Creation and that this, too, causes me to photograph.  The gentleman responded to my answer by saying, “Well, there certainly is a spiritual element to your photography.”

This is something I have been told many times over the years.  Even people who are not overtly religious have told me that they see a spiritual quality in my work.  Hearing this comment again yesterday has made me wonder why people tell me this.  Is there something in my work that sets it apart as “spiritual”?  If so, I really don’t know what it is.  I do know that just about every time I go out to photograph that I pray that God will help me to see things and that He will use my photography to honor Him. (J. S. Bach wrote his music for the glory of God so I figure I can attempt to photograph for the same purpose.)  So could it be that the comments I hear are an answer to prayer?  Once again, I honestly don’t know.

W. Eugene Smith once wrote, “Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes—just sometimes—one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness.”   Maybe, just maybe, sometimes one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into the realm of the divine as well.  It is certainly my hope and prayer that I can see and photograph God’s Creation in such a way that people who see my work feel a connection to the Creator. 

As Bach often said, Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the glory!


(The image above was taken on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.)