Jun 27 2010

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.)

Apr 28 2010

The Seasons of the Great Smoky Mountains

GSM-stream-with-trilliums-2In a couple of days I’m flying out to California to spend some time photographing with Rob.  I look forward to being with my friend and to seeing some new places.  I really do enjoy visiting new sites.  I find more meaning, however, in returning to familiar places over and over again.

From my childhood the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been a very special place to me.  I have wonderful memories of family vacations there.  By the time I got into photography eighteen years ago I lived in a location not far from the Smokies.  As often as I could I made my way over there to photograph.  I now live further away than I did so I don’t get there quite as often but I still try to go when I can.  For some reason, the Smokies feel like home to me.

Recently I had the privilege of producing a DVD on the Smokies with the wonderful musician David Arkenstone.  It features my images and David’s original music.   As I have watched the DVD it has brought back so many memories of times I spent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  With each viewing I have to thank God for creating such a beautiful place and also for giving me the privilege to experience it all these years.

DVD cover 936I like to think of this new DVD as a visual testimony to God’s marvelous Creation.  There is nothing overtly “Christian” about the DVD but I still hope it will prove to be a blessing to others.  Bach wrote his music for the glory of God and I sincerely hope my photography can be used for His glory as well.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in purchasing a copy of the DVD, they can be ordered at  David’s website: www.davidarkenstone.com. The DVD also comes with a CD of the music featured in the DVD.