Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology, Faith & Religion, Photography

Photography and Spiritual Formation (8)

In this post mention a few places I’ve found online that engage with photography and spirituality. Some of these are explicitly Christian, while others have a wider sense of things spiritual.

Kelvin Wright – Available Light

First up is New Zealander, Kelvin Wright, retired Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, who has blogged at Available Light (http://vendr.blogspot.com) since 2008 on spirituality, pilgrimage, photography and all manner of other things. The blog has dedicated pages for different aspects of Christian meditation and spirituality and the blog posts are always illustrated with excellent photographs.

For those of you wanting more to see more of those photographs through social media, the links for that are below.

Kelvin Wright – @kelvin.wright3 (Instagram)

Daniel P. Horan – Slowing down, seeing anew: the spiritual benefits of film photography

Daniel Horan, a former photographer and now Franciscan friar, writes at the link below about rediscovering his photography, and in particular, a return to analogue film from digital capture. In returning to film, Horan becomes aware of a much wider and younger audience who are enthusiastically embracing the medium. The full article is at the link below:

You also don’t have the luxury of instant feedback. There are no digital previews on the back of a film camera, and there is no way to share your images immediately on social media. Therefore, you have to learn patience, and that can be a challenge. However, the virtue of patience has profound spiritual and practical implications. In an age of instant gratification, cultivating patience is a virtue.

It also challenges the photographer to cultivate a spirit of hope, because you will not know for a while whether what you had hoped to accomplish in your framing, focus and exposure will result in a successful image. Plus, by the time you do know, it’s generally too late to go back and recreate the moment.

Daniel P. Horan, Slowing down, seeing anew: the spiritual benefits of film photography (2021)

Horan also points to this Wired article from 2020 that connects with some of the energy that’s coming back to analogue.

Analog photography is dignifying because it’s out of the hands of the algorithms, which means it affords you the freedom to make your own mistakes. Suffering the consequences of human error is paradoxically liberating, and a great picture can provide a rush equivalent to winning a marathon.

Wired: Film Photography Can Never Be Replaced (Jonathon Keats, 2020)

Val Isenhower – IFD411 – Spirituality and Photography course

If you want some more structure to the interaction of sprituality and photography then perhaps a course like this one might be useful. Originally called Meditation on Both Sides of the Camera, the course IFD411 – Spirituality and Photography can be found at the link below.

From the website:

This newly revised and expanded class explores the idea of photography as a spiritual practice. Photography is a path to stilling the heart and soul in order to hear God and to sense the presence of God in the beauty of God’s creation. Val Isenhower, photographer, author and ordained minister, teaches the class. We will focus on how our spiritual lives inform our photography as we learn to pay attention, to be patient, to center and to focus our eyes in new ways. We also explore the act of focusing on the pictures we record to see how they speak to your souls. This course is experiential and based on Val’s book Mediation on Both Sides of the Camera and supplemental materials.

From the course description

You can find the book mentioned here on Amazon:


Steve Little – Photography as a Spiritual Discipline

In this combination article and video from United Methodist Communications, minister Steve Little reflects on his use of photography as spiritual discipline in small town America.

Taking this time I realized turned out to be a very prayerful experience, that when I began each day hoping to see something beautiful that in a way I was inviting God to be present with me in this process.

I would recommend that everybody find something to do each day as a spiritual discipline, and to realize that most days are not gonna feel inspirational. For me when the inspiration came was after it was done, looking back at what I had done the previous month or the previous quarter. The sense of wonder and gratitude came to me with it.

Steve Little, Photography as a Spiritual Discipline (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKpHdh_daDA

Judy Hancock Holland – Photography as a Spiritual Path

In this post, Judy Handcock Holland reflects on a broader spiritual path and what the photographer might offer back to those who view their work. That’s an important point to make – that it isn’t all about what you can get out of photography, but the way that you can contribute to others’ flourishing.

And so, for me, photography is a spiritual practice. It’s about stopping to notice the beauty around me, the many blessings offered in this world, and composing from these blessings a hymn of praise to offer back to the world.

It a way of saying to the viewer of my image, “Stop weary traveller. Rest here a moment in the beauty of this image, and remember that you live in the midst of miracles.” Just as the robin shares the gift it has been given, I am moved to share whatever gifts I can with others along the way. Some will receive the gifts; others will not.

Judy Hancock Holland – Photography as a Spiritual Path

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