"For me there is a close connection between art and religion in the sense that both are concerned about questions of meaning - if not about the meaning of existence generally, then certainly about the meaning of one's individual life and how a person relates to his or her total community/environment. This is not to say that every work of art is or should be a heavily profound statement, indeed many may be very light-hearted, but rather that consciously and unconsciously an artist engaged in serious work is always raising or dealing with the question: 'What really matters?'"
- Freeman Patterson
For me, being a Christian and a nature photographer, Freeman's art statement above really hit home. Most people cannot say what really matters in their lives - many people act as though money and power are the only things that matter but we cannot take them with us when we die and that is the only certainty in life, we will ALL die!
I enjoy photography but I know that there are other things that are more important - I will enjoy my spiritual photography while I am alive and I am grateful to God that I have been granted the gift of everlasting life with Him - and that's why I add pages like these to my site - so that YOU too may see the light and repent and be granted the gift of everlasting life instead of choosing to go to hell!
So then, what in life really matters to YOU?
These three video messages by John Van Sloten may help you answer this question...
What does a photographer’s eye teach us about seeing God more? Can a greater understanding of the nature of the camera’s lens help un-shutter and focus our vision?
“Seeing, in the finest and broadest sense, means using your senses, your intellect and your emotions. It means encountering your subject matter with your whole being. It means looking beyond the label of things and discovering the remarkable world around you.”
- Canadian Photographer Freeman Patterson, Page 7, Photography and the Art of Seeing
“My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD?”
- Psalm 35:20
"Letting go of self is an essential precondition to real seeing. When you let go of yourself, you abandon any preconceptions about the subject matter that might cramp you into photographing in a certain, predetermined way. As long as you are worried about whether or not you will be able to make good pictures, or are concerned about enjoying yourself, you are unlikely either to make the best photographs you can or to experience the joy of photography to the fullest."
- Freeman Patterson, Page 9, Photography and the Art of Seeing
“Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.”
- Psalm 86:11
Portraits – both formal and informal of you and me. How do you see yourself? Others? And what kind of image fills God’s mind when he thinks of you?
“A photograph is a visual description of the relationship between the subject and the photographer; and a good photograph is one which clearly shows the character of the subject while revealing the photographer’s response to it.”
- P10, Photography for the Joy of It, Freeman Patterson
“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.”
- Psalm 139:1-4,
“Everybody has this thing where they need to look one way, but they come out looking another way, that’s what people observe.” [photographer Diane] Arbus once aptly described the fine fissure in our self-image, that ‘gap between intention and effect’ on which her portraiture focused.”
- Page 107, 50 Photographers you should know.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...”
- The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:16-18
We finish our series on spiritual photography by focusing on the theme of Light. Our texts will be photographer Galen Rowell and select Bible passages.
“His photographic vision grew out of a unique mix of athletic abilities, technical skills, intellectual understanding, and artistic intuition, which enabled him to identify, chase, capture, and interpret those ephemeral moments when light and landscape interact in ways that transcend specific situations.”
- F. Lanting, Galen Rowell: A Retrospective, page 252
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!""
- Matthew 17:1-5
“His passion for the mountains, not his mountaineering skills, provided the real fuel for his photography. One could argue whether his firsthand, close up experience of them made for better landscapes at a distance, but there is no denying that at any range he could imbue them with the qualities of majesty and timelessness. Mountains in Rowell’s pictures, are the standards against which we might measure ourselves, the obdurate others of human existence.”
- Andy Grunberg, Galen Rowell: A Retrospective, page 49
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
- Jesus in John 8:12
Photographs © Galen Rowell/Mountain Light
For more information about Galen Rowell, please contact Mountain Light Photography, 106 S. Main St., Bishop, CA 93514 Telephone (760) 873-7700 www.mountainlight.com
Thank you to
New Hope Church Calgary for their permission to use the above three photography messages for this Spiritual Photography page.
“I would now like to do two things with my photos. First to do more ‘personal work’ that is more expressive and spiritual and full of story. Second I would like to use my photography to better the world like save some endangered habitat, raise awareness for an issue, or somehow bring joy or appreciation for nature.”
- Darwin Wiggett
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-Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
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- Tobie Oosthuizen, Pretoria, South Africa