Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The God of Photography--Who Knew!?

As one who has been blessed the past few years to teach a full time load during the regular school year as well as the summer semester, those two to three weeks between posting that last student's grade and emailing out first day syllabi are precious.

While that time is still full of work to prepare for the following term, it is also a time for playing 'catch up' with those items I really want to do.  Putting photos in albums, crocheting, reading a book for pleasure, researching ideas for the next seasonal or birthday party, or even something as simple as shopping--those things I can never find the time for get placed on one of my infamous "between semester" bucket lists.

Among the usual entries for this time of year was a long-growing desire I'd finally felt certain enough was God-given to voice in print.

 See @ photography class.

Unlike some pipe dreams that I didn't have a chance of accomplishing within a two week time frame (like crocheting a whole boy Pilgrim doll), this was actually possible.  The problem was I had no idea how to make it happen and even less of an idea of who I could contact for advice.  The only photography class I knew existed was at our State's flagship university, and that wasn't going to happen--financially or time wise.

And so, that line sat untouched while I plowed through the list, crossing out some and conceding others for the next inter-semester break at Christmas.

Then, five days before the semester started, I received an email from a friend of a friend--the online deal service Groupon was offering a one night 3 1/2 hour introduction to photography for a third of the normal price.

One night? Forty dollars?  I had goosebumps from seeing His fingerprints all over this desire in my soul and then fulfilling it when I could not.

A few weeks and one crazy drive into the city later, I dropped off the children with husband to sit in a large hotel conference room with fifty others who all wanted to understand how to take better photographs, how to use those buttons on their fancy SLR cameras...and how to decipher a foreign vocabulary of words like ISO, F stop, exposure compensation, metering, and aperture priority.

Two male teachers walked to the front of the room and began introducing themselves.  Instantly, the one named Randy left no doubt I was in the right place.

"Photography is all about light," he began.  "All you see is light.  You don't see the tree.  You only see the tree if light bounces off it."

With those words, I was back in my small college philosophy class of six studying Plato, listening to my professor say, "What surrounds us are not really trees.  They're just shadows, feeble representations of 'tree-ness' that stem from the realm of ideal where the perfect, true idea of a tree exists."

Even back then, I couldn't understand how my peers couldn't make the leap from this philosophy to a concept of God.  And here it was again--nothing exists in its fullness unless God shines His light on it. He is the author and finisher of all that surrounds us.

As I sat there dumbfounded at this sudden lesson on God's daily presence, the teacher continued, "Light's job is to move from its source.  It goes to the darkness and wakes it up.  Light is always moving from its source toward the darkness."

Yes.  His light is all about awakening our souls.  His light reflects off those who are His so that the world sees the light, not the individual. Although I didn't know it, this was the lesson I really came to hear.

A month later, every time I pick up my camera, I can't help to look for Him, for the light that has the power to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

This is my lifelong desire, and not just in terms of photography.  I am a seeker of light, not for my own glory but for His alone.  May others look at me and see nothing but the Son.


  1. Beautiful, Jennifer! What a inspiring "perspective" for your photography, and life :)

    1. God never ceases to amaze me, His teaching me how to view His world differently. And things I think are totally separate like photography and Him--He shows me they're all a part of the greater whole. Just amazing.

  2. I'm so glad you got to cross that one off the list. And the thing about light? VERY cool.