********** A Christian Journal **********

Growing in the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 23, 2010 (my photography - my faith)


“I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator. …One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made. … The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." - St. Basil the Great

I started taking pictures when I was 13 or 14. My dad bought me a Leica Visoflex 2… my first “serious camera” when I turned 16 (1961). I remember his one main condition… learn how to take care of it and maintain it before you use it. He even had the sales clerk give me instructions. He knew he didn’t have to tell me to make “good use” of it… to learn about the art of making pictures and the process of photography in general… I was already hooked by then. Taking photos was… as Dorothea Lange said… “getting lost again”. That simple quote has become very important to me and my faith. For I believe that, as in photography… you must take the time to get lost in the art… you must get lost in the Lord in order to develop all that He wants you to be. He has a plan for our life… being receptive to Him is the only way to find it.

This camera was my answer to a “creative urge” that I have felt throughout my life. Lacking skills in artistic painting or sculpture, in writing novels or poetry, and having no musical talent, the camera was my crutch… the necessary link between my seeing eye and a produced image. Actually artistic painting and photography could be considered exact opposites. In one you start with a blank piece of canvas and add to produce an image… in the other, you start with the whole world and learn to isolate all but the essential image… “seeing” what already exists.

Photography increases your sensitivity to the world around you and helps you to see the essential. The same process allows your faith to grow… listen for Him in all you experience (that takes practice and commitment), eliminate the garbage, and allow Him to work within you, concentrating on the truth of His Word. Be ever mindful of Him.

I keep my images as simple as possible… sometimes (as several have told me) taking photographs of things others would either ignore or never even see… such as this image seen in dead leaf litter.

Having taken formal classes in photography, attending several seminars; reading extensively on photographic history, photographic art (the “masters” of photography), and many articles on photographic technique, I nonetheless shoot almost all of my photos on automatic… relying on the camera for the settings and concentrating instead on the subject and its surroundings. Post processing is done in Adobe Photoshop to slightly adjust the final image to appease my inner eye. Teaching a couple of classes in photography helped me clarify what I learned. Perhaps the whole photographic process is intuitive… an ability that comes through a lot of experience.

I have never lost the excitement of seeking, seeing, and capturing an image. Images are found everywhere and the child in me stands in awe of God’s creation. I am not a man of many talents… but I believe this is a gift from God… and in using His gift for His glory… I feel the Holy Spirit guides my eye. To quote Ansel Adams, “Sometimes I do get to places [and see things] just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.” I could not do as well if left to my own ability. Anything in these images that is praiseworthy is from Him… anything less… well, that is all mine.

Photography continues to have an impact on my developing faith and spiritual growth. My faith continues to influence my photography. It is how I see. "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C. S. Lewis


  1. I love how you write. I love how photography impact on your developing faith and spiritual growth as you put it in your last paragraph. I love your photos and most of all, I love how you love God so much. Looking forward to visiting your site again.
    God Bless,
    Rendy Loudewijk

  2. I too appreciate the parallel you make here between photography and your faith.

  3. I too like how you witness Gods truth. His Grace is sufficient for me too. I see photography as a real gift . I too wonder about things like you.

    New to your blog.