Tag Archives: photography

Not Blogging

Not Blogging

For me, words can’t reveal like the camera can.

It seems a bit off to write a blog post about not blogging.

Nevertheless, since this is what I’m thinking about, here we are.

I like writing. I like the process of crystallizing my thoughts to the degree of being able to express them to others via printed word, in hopes that they will get a clear idea of what’s transpiring in my head.

I like the art of crafting communication, considering word choice, sentence rhythm, symmetry and variety as facets of communicating with lively interest.

I mostly think in words, in lists, in essays…rather than in pictures or physical movement.

And yet, with all of this internal appeal, in this season I cannot say that I feel the same way about writing as I do about photography.

I have mentioned previously that I am on a journey of exploring the creative outlet of making images digitally. More life-giving than a hobby, more essential than “art for art’s sake,” photography is touching on something deeply within.

Shockingly, something more intrinsic to me than writing.

Writing is certainly a creative art.

But composing a literary piece is not touching those same spots within me as photography is, those places where the image of God is seeded, waiting to come to fruit.

I have found myself with a need to create–to go out and make new images, or at the very least to process images previously received and bring them to the height of my heart’s desire. Flickr and Facebook are becoming the avenues for sharing my heart, more so than articles and blogs.

I’m still writing (obviously)–even working on a book project–and I don’t expect that to come to a complete halt. But how long will this season of photographic primacy last? How long will the camera call to me more loudly than the pen or keyboard?

Who’s to say? But for now, I long to enjoy and must be faithful to the drive within: to reveal the image of my Creator God through my humble, limited opportunities for producing what my own heart conceives, what my own eye fancies. Perhaps the world may too enjoy something it has never before received.

Perhaps it will just be for me…and Him.


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Photography: A Contemplation

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Life


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Imagification: On Being the Image of God

Imagification: On Being the Image of God

My thoughts are being shaped.

Part of my recent journey has been an exploration of photography–more than a hobby, and even more than an opportunity for contemplation, but rather an exercise of my spirituality. There is something deep that occurs in me when I make photos, and I have struggled to articulate it.

A friend of mine, in sharing her own journey, loaned me some language that I am finding useful for understanding what happens when I hold a camera in my hands. She provided the perspective that in creating pictures, we are being the image of the creative, creating, Creator God who made us. We are microcosms of Him, and He intends for us to represent Him in this world, and part of that is doing the kinds of works that He does.

One of which is creating.

Granted, I cannot create something from nothing (ex nihilo is the theological term for that), but in using a tool to capture light, and electrical impulses to record it, I’m getting about as close as I can imagine.

But this idea of revealing–being–the image of God as a creative, as an artist, is leading me to additional considerations. What other aspects of His character and nature has He built into me (us) that we are to reveal, to live out?

My previous word for understanding where the camera was leading me was presence. When I am making photographs, I find myself far more present in my environment and circumstances than I am without this tool.

image sky

And therein I stumble across the nature of God: He is omnipresent–fully present everywhere always. What does this quality look like when presented through the finitude of a human representative on earth? Could it be this experience I have of truly paying attention, seeing, noticing, enjoying, perceiving what is around me–as I only can do when I have a camera in my hands?

Future weeks will testify to how I will discover other such outlets for the nature of God in my own life.

And this brings me to yet more new language for this journey. Christian theologians often speak of “sanctification” as the process of a believer being made more holy as God continues to refine us by the Holy Spirit. Both practically and theologically, I’m not sure that there’s much substance to this concept.

So how about a new word?


Think of it as image+ification…the journey of becoming more aware of how we–individually and in community–reveal the character and nature of God. We are created in His divine image. We are born again after coming to faith. We are appointed as His ambassadors and ministers. And yet somehow it can be cloudy for us to understand what and how we are revealing Him, how we are walking out our lives in God-like manner.

In the last few weeks, I think I’ve taken some important steps forward in imagification: having begun to consider presence and creativity, I am seeing more of what God is like, and hopefully I am helping to show more of Him to others as well. I haven’t fundamentally changed, but my understanding, awareness, and intentionally have made significant progress. I’m not more holy now than I was a few weeks ago, but I am more wholly–fully entering into all that I was created to be.

As God is infinitely deep, majestic, and mysterious, there’s no telling where this imagification journey will take me.

But for now, I’ll be sure to keep my camera batteries charged and my memory cards at hand; you never know when I will be called upon to create, when I will be moved again to live out the realities of the One who created me.

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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Life, Theology


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Photography: A Contemplation

Photography: A Contemplation

In recent weeks, I have ventured into the practice of contemplative photography. While it has been an interesting pursuit, I’ve sensed that there is something more, a deeper, more intimate experience to be had than to just sit for 10 minutes with a photo that I’ve already made and to intentionally reflect on what the imagery evokes.

I think I may indeed have crossed over and attained a new level of personal investment in photography.

Recently, I received a bit of criticism about my photography. It wasn’t rude or mean-spirited, but it hit me deeply. Of a sudden, I realized that there is something intensely personal linking me to my images, something that indicates this has gone far beyond a mere hobby or taking snapshots.

Photography for me is not to remember, not to share, but to experience. A humble walk in a local wooded area (seen here on my Flickr page) becomes significant to me when I venture in with camera in hand, when I observe, when I truly see, when I interact with my surroundings in ways that my predominantly passive personality would often shy away from. Being present and engaged has suddenly become possible for me through photographic tools.

My photography is for me…because I need it, currently, to encourage me into the places when my soul does not often go, but finds oh so life-giving.

Surely, I am not the first person who has braced up against the world and proclaimed that my pictures are for me alone. The fact that I have a Flickr photo page may be taken as evidence against this very statement.

But my goal is not to simply share a photo, to entertain, or even to impart beauty to others. The world is full of photographs–millions of which are more technically perfect, more creative, more inspiring, more beautiful than mine.

But the world is not full of my photographs.

My pictures do not stand on their own–they are a creation…of me. While some would argue that pictures should stand on their own, that they should communicate volumes of words (and communicate clearly! attractively! impactfully!), I have realized that this cannot be for me. My pictures do not exist in their fullness apart from their perpetual attachment to me. Uploading them to Flickr doesn’t separate them from their origin, from the heartbeat that created them.

It’s only recently that I’ve even begun to share photos online. With such a philosophy, why even bother to upload them? Because I have a faint hope that through them, I will be known.

If people find beauty, or joy, or inspiration…wonderful! But I would trade all of that if instead people would wonder, “What do I see of Allen in here? Why would Allen create this photo?” Or perhaps beyond wondering such things, a simple smile and an admission, “This is Allen’s photo,” would suffice. Connection. Relationship.

I am made in the image of a Creator God. His hand has wrought everything that I photograph. His creation does not exist in separation from Himself. His creation–whatever beauty, or functionality, it may provide–lacks its full and ultimate meaning if it is not linked back to Him.

How often have we tried to hear what the created is saying–much like deriving the thousand words from a photograph–while ignoring the Person who brought it into being, ignoring the one who’s creative act is what infused it with meaning, let alone existence?

My photographs are of me, and they can serve to reveal me to you.

If they were anything else, they would likely need more skill in composition, more expert enhancement in Photoshop, more mastery of the machinery that leads to their creation.

But they are not. They are just a part of me.

What you see, is who you get.

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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Life, Theology


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