h o t o g r a p h y  &  R e f l e c t i o n

Faith is about seeing life from a particular point of view, and photography is about seeing. And maybe faith is how a photographer can see. Faith is to trust, to trust the order of things more than self. It’s saying the world is larger than I am and knows more than I do, has a wisdom of age and depth of understanding well beyond what I can grasp. The world is billions of light years distance, has an existence reaching back billions of years and a future of billions more after I have gone. Faith is to say the world knows more about me than I do.

Author Robert Stone wrote that losing something is as good as having it. Some might say losing is better, living with loss is more genuine as we all lose everything in the end. Believing in life to be the having is the sham; living in the place of losing is reality, putting our faith in what we don't have, not what we do.

When speaking about her photography, Diane Arbus said she never took a photograph she intended, and this despite posing many of her photographs. She said photography is not mechanical, putting something into the camera and getting a result out. The thing to know, she said, is that you never know. You’re always feeling your way. To live without faith is is to believe that one can control and manage the world. It would be taking a camera and manufacturing the photo.

Author Thomas Moore says that we are what inspires us, not what we intend or make ourselves to be.

For me to shoot by faith is to trust the world for the photograph, to see the world and to pay close attention to what I do not know. At one point Diane Arbus found that what she loved most about a photograph was what she couldn’t see. She was fascinated with the darkness. The darkness is uncertainty, doubt, fear, dread. It is the question and not the answer. Shooting a photograph is best done as a question, not an answer, she says. What is freedom? What is love? What is hope? What is redemption? A question and never the answer. A photograph emerges from a question, and is never an answer.

So, what is the result of one’s photography? The subject, Arbus remarks, is always more magnificent than the photograph. And what is that for faith: living life is more magnificent than the life lived.

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