This is called “Entrance Gate”. It’s still one of my favorite photographs I’ve ever taken.
There are so many layers here. It is about being pointed towards the way to go, but being blocked from getting there. And the people who put the directions out there are the very ones who are blocking your progress.
And, it has fantastic tones, one of my best B&W conversions ever.
I don’t bring up my faith too much, hardly at all, in fact. But, since this is Easter weekend, I thought I might take moment to explain something. I am a Christian.
And, let it be known, I consider myself not a very good one. I hardly practice what I hardly preach. But, it remains a large part of who I am. I effects every aspect of my worldview. And, hopefully, to shapes my actions to a certain degree in such a way that, while I’m not as good and faithful as I should be, I am certainly better than I was yesterday.
I am attracted to Christianity for the same reason I am attracted to photography; Light.
Make no mistake, photography is all about light. 100%. We take pictures of things, and of people and of places and events. These are what we take pictures of. But every aspect of that process is about light. How much light we have, how long we need to hold the shutter open to let enough light in. We buy lenses because they can let in more light, we use filters to block or alter light, we buy flashes to add light and use reflectors to reflect light.
Every single thing we do is about light.
Christianity, too, is about light. We follow the Light of the World (John 8:12), the One who was there when light was first separated from darkness (John 1:3-5). Christians are called out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9) to be light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). We should live a life that shows the world we are children of light (Ephesians 5:8). We follow a book that lights our path (Psalm 119:105). And, at the end of it all, we shall live in a city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light (Revelation 21:23).
I’m not sure how my faith infuses my work, though I know it does. I know that it prevents me from openly mocking people, or willingly create work that demeans or belittles people. Because I try to see all people as important. And valuable. And beautiful.
Probably why I mostly take pictures of buildings and cars.
Also, there is a whole thing about how Christian culture reacts to the arts and to artists. I’ve known for a very long time that there is little tolerance for the arts in Christianity, just like there is little tolerance for Christianity in the arts. It sounds like I’m over-simplifying it, I assure you I am not. I have lived most of my life within that tension between my love for those two separate worlds.
So, while I try not to be overly preachy and obviously religious in my work, my faith is not something I am shy about either. It is there in my work as well.
Because every picture you take is a self-portrait.
Happy Easter, everyone.