Monday, 6 October 2008


'The Photographer's Eye is perpetually evaluating (and because of this), can bring coincidence of line simply by moving his perspective by a fraction of a millimetre' Henri Cartier-Bresson.

"Prove all things and hold fast to those things which are good'. The Apostle Paul.

Isn't interesting how easily we can simplify and thereby totally empty things of their actual value?

I received the framework for my third year of studies in Photography today, and was quickly plunged in to considering the likes of Colour Formalism, New Realism, Gestalt Laws and their bearing on photographic composition, intent and balance. It was pretty heady stuff to start the day, so after lunch, I thought I'd do a search under 'Christian Photography' and see if I could find a few on-line spots where others of like faith may be seeking to engage in the realm and looking for mutual support....

Now, I have no particular liking for beer, but those who do would tell you just how plain dreadful it is when someone seeks to give you something other than the genuine article.
The point? Well, just what is the point of having 'christian' sites for 'nice' (inoffensive) photographic images (which appeared by the page load on my search)?
Well, some might say, our faith shouldn't contain anything 'unclean' - no violence, no profanity and absolutely no nudity, so that's the guidelines for 'Christian' things - art, photography, whatever.

In the early 16th century,
German artist Matthias Grünewald brought comfort to those dying of leprosy with the production of his altarpiece depicting the crucifixion of Christ. The art is stark and uncompromising - an acute, furious expression of the agony of death, the debasing of a man by such cruel execution, the plain exposition of the naked death of the Son of God. The work achieves it's goal - to show the one who has so totally identified with our pain, our reality, and it is because of this that the image on the other side of the panel - that of a Jesus, bodily whole and resurrected- resonates so deeply with regards as to the essential nature of our faith in God's sure and certain promise - though this body is destroyed, yet in my flesh, I shall see God.

In the early 1990's, I found myself staggered when many local Christians I knew were vocally informing myself and others that we should not watch or encourage others to see the masterful Stephen Spielberg film, Schindler's List. What staggered me was that the reason for this boycott had nothing to do with the entirely legitimate theme of the movie - of redemption amidst a world gone mad - but simply because the work contained 'nudity'.

There is nothing more terrible than when we deny what we have been called to express.
Christianity is not against exposing the horror and darkness of what is here and why it exists. It is equally not anti the marvels and glories of natural human life - these are, in fact, the very aspects that are so inherent to God's work of redemption. What we hate is the lie that things are right and good without the life and breath of God. That is the murder which transpired in Eden.
Sin is that rotten, wasteful thing 'which prostitutes and wrecks that which should be fresh and full of life, generating a God-ignoring barrenness' (Calvin Seerveld).

There is, of course, nothing wrong with Christians sharing normal life together - that should be encouraged, and we certainly need to avoid union to any evil which undermines the truth of the Gospel, but that life should be in the world, in the arts, in the very fibre of society and culture, not so 'soft-centered' and besieged that the life we know is 'pure' to the point of dualistic detachment.

I did finally find a page where something more edifying was going on:

But it took a while....

I wonder if others on this course, especially those without faith, would have been as persistent, or able to understand....

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