Saturday, January 30, 2016

Photography as Worship :: Just pretend like my heart is in my throat while you read this.


Hey, so you remember that project that I mentioned I was finishing up last week,  I was asked to teach a class on photography, in my head::
" Oh I can't do that , I'm not a photographer, I'm just a mum who takes pictures!" 
Then i prayed about it, and felt like it was really something i should humble myself and do. I am NOT confident in myself being labeled a photographer, I never went to school, I'm entirely self taught, its is entirely a labour of love, there are so many amazing photographers!! In prayer and worship times I realised this is why I should do the class.. because for me photography is a way to praise God for my blessings and the life he has given me. I'm not doing it for profit, or the praise of anyone, intact i maybe only show 1/10th of the photos I take. I have to take photos because its my way of showing gratitude to God. I may not be a photographer but i AM a worshiper!!! I know I have been called lead people in worship with my voice now he is asking me to do that with my camera and my story of how God has used it as a tool for change in my life. Basically this has nothing to do with my skills but everything to do with leading them into a way of worship they may have never noticed before... so personal.. my heart!
Well its done and dusted! While I am taking a rest from the emotional exertion of tweaking and worrying that I would forget everything (you guys the struggle is real), and actually talking... I wanted to puke the whole talk and the entire week leading up to it it was such a personal thing for me, if only it had been talking about yarn!!! I digress, here it is, the overly extensive "notes" I used and got totally lost with, and some pictures from over the ages (since i didn't feel like trying for the slide shows i used)

Photography as Worship

Philippians 4:4-9New International Version (NIV)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

A camera , Most of us carry them around, in our pockets we have a camera phone, some of us have made a habbit of popping them into our purses, they aren’t that unique, in our modern day and age they are quite common place. My dslr is pretty cool, i had my techie husband pick it out like i always have, i know i can figure out how to use it , i knew i wanted more settings, more manual controls  but when i look at the websites and all the specks i get brain freeze… then there is the price, they can be SOOOOO high! Yes it is true you get what you pay for, but i am happy to tell you many photo-nerds will agree you don’t need anything more than a camera on your phone  to get great pictures! 
I am not a professional photographer, but I do love capturing Memories and moments and using this piece of technology to focus in  on some of the beauty that God has placed on my life.
I have struggled with depression since i was a teenager, when the life i inhabited grew so dark, i wanted to get better, but i felt so stuck merky dingy bleak, it was a season God got me through,  i still feel that way from time to time, the creeping numbness. When I had my son, after many years of waiting and hoping and trying for my  motherhood dreams to start depression reared its ugly head once more. There were plenty of outside things contributing, nursing and not eating enough was a huge one, my husband working nights and sleeping days and feeling so lonely, hormones… Nuff said!  All this with a new little baby, I was terrified that his new baby days would go by in a haze of gloom and that I would miss it. there was no rewind button on babies this I knew from nannying, babies don’t keep! I wanted a way to be in the moment, to really feel it, captured  it, really opening my eyes to what i knew in my head was a great life but what I wasn’t feeling any of it, I knew I was missing what mattered, i had gotten into a habit of passing by the little bits of beauty in the darkness. so I picked up my camera.
My mother always said the Lord speaks to you in a still small voice, i think that the also speaks to you in the little moments of beauty, It isn’t always a grand masterpiece, but the everyday wonder. If you keep looking for his love in his beautiful hand work, in the way steam floats from a tea cup, or the sun rise early in the morning shining its golden light on your husbands sweater lying on a chair
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, your babies eyelashes while they sleep,adeline 49
 the way your dog seems to grin when he is playing

.. God created this world, we can see his fingerprint everywhere, I believe that when i started searching for these things(even be it through a lense ) I began to develop my heart of greatfulness, praising and thanking God with each click of the camera. 
Using Photography as a way of worship

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus

God Is the maker of beauty , He placed in our hearts a desire for beauty, Even those who don’t know Him travel the world in search of it,  long to feel it , create it, and do just about anything to experience beauty, Perhaps because through His art we fall more in love with the greatest artist, he isn’t just t maker of beauty he is the reason for beauty! He is incomparable beauty, he is LOVE. Its easy to see him in the perfection of his creation.
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Such a lovely night

Psalm 19:1

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.


For me Photography doesn’t only enable me to see beauty in the moment but also when things go wrong, the details of an everyday life to be thankful for, when my daughter pours out all the Cheerios or spits out milk
 or my husband gets his face bashed up playing… touch football
or my son has a meltdown in the middle of a transition season, in the moment i was tired  over whelmed and over the whole day but God opened my eyes to the humour, when i saw that photo  and snapped it i paused and instead of blowing up (as i am apt to do) i saw the whole picture. I was thankful for the boy, i was thankful for the job my husband has even if it moves us everywhere
(even though having my parents around at this moment would be great)
, and i was thankful for the God that opened my eyes to the beauty in the mess, instead of focusing on the things i can’t control I choose to focus my eyes on the beauty God gave me and praise the creator, even in the midst of my “mess" he has plans 
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Jeremiah 29 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seekme and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

Lets seek him guys

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How do I take a better photo, what are ways of incorporating this into my every day?

The best advice I, can give you is take photos often, keep your camera or your phone at the ready
Your eye will develop more easily with practice, your style like you, will change but no matter what your photos look like the quality will be better the more you learn to control your camera 


a few great ways to do this is to maybe set yourself a photo goal for the year, like a weakly portrait, a daily photo project (good luck!), or some thing of that sort, there are tons of resources and examples of this on the Internet and in books, monthly photo challenges are fun but not as much commitment as a yearly one. I have done two weekly portrait projects, and plan to do another this year, I had a gap year and I missed it desperately, I got a little out of the habit bit I still i really love it!, the same could be done with landscapes or nature shots way the p’aces and people are always changing there is always something new to explore  there is so much emotion looking back on these seasons, be they good or bad

Look close, sometime it's the tiniest detail your meant to see


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Look at the big picture, Be aware and in the moment!  
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12 Jaime "first day of SPRING!"

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During the dark months try black and white you'll be amazed at how you see light and shape

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don’t just look at photographers work
there are amazing painters, sculptors, crafters, fiber artists,musicians, writers,poets, interior designers that you can learn from, documentaries, biographies, blogs are a wealth of information, they all are drawn to the world, and see it in a unique way, seeing their point of view for a moment can open your eyes to something you have never seen before!
people like Mary Cassatt and her simple moments with mothers and children, Rainer Maria Rilke "Letters to a young poet", LM Montgomery’s vividly descriptive landscapes and pictures in the Anne of Green Gables series, Andy Goldsworthy use of nature in his sculptures, Ennio Morriconne and the way his music is infused with emotion


Or just the song that makes you tear up whenever you hear it,





Photography is like painting and poetry and music, it captures the details that make a beautiful moment,
The more time you spend with someone who is observant, weather internally or externally, you can glean from their knowledge and maybe avoid some mistakes.


Learn the basics, there is a science to what makes a pleasing photo, its not too hard to learn, and becomes second nature with practice(look up free photography classes or tutorials on youtube, pintrest .  A great podcast is “the art of photography" by ted Forbes ) Or you can take craftsy classes, or even check out your library for books!

Turn off the flash Natural liht is always best(unles you can afford super fancy flashes, but for non professional uses I believe in keeping things simple, our hobbies shouldn't put us in serious debt).  it gives everything a funky shadow and can make a shot look really cheesy, if you MUST use one, you can turn the brightness down and diffuse it with  a piece of paper  or one of these handy diffusers

Take a walk, just you and your camera, look for photos, landscapes, close ups, candids, these little dates with your camera give you time to fiddle and play with setting and composition and also get used to people seeing you take photos, I’m very uncomfortable with people looking at me/ or judging me, I know there "is no way", but its true, I don’t like standing out, I realised a long time ago I'll never be able to blend in if I am true to who God made me to be, and I want to capture and think him for the basic stunning beauty of his creation so I had better get over myself and get out there!" now I don’t really care if people look at me

Daydream: Play the part of photographer you are in your mind, get dressed in your favourite outfit, have a picnic, do things with your family and friends that will make beautiful pictures, go see castles do things, explore Roman holiday style, Be the you in your mind, as my husband says “who says i have to grow up” a huge part of showing your artistic vision is letting yourself be the person you are, free from the bounds of the worlds “normal” , you were never meant to be normal, you were meant to be the person god made you to be.

Unplug, and give them all of your attention

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Bless your family and friends by taking pictures of their families, I love spending time with my friends kids who are very at home with me or taking pictures of their kids birthday parties so mum and dad are a part of the visual memories, when they look back their all together as a family. being the one at a family reunion who brought the camera, sneak around and capture the love is a great blessing not just to you but is also a great memento to the people in the photo who wouldn't be able to have captured that moment in their lives... one risk with that, you may get lectured by a crazy person of no relation who thinks you are the Press and has a vendetta against someone who wrote a paper on your genealogy (or something to that extent, i just wanted to run...she was one egg short of a dozen) 
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Get on their level, A huge part of a great portraits are playing around with different angles, get on your knees and look at  them eye to eye,IMG_7422

Look at different angles, stand on a chair to capture the twirl of a skirt, get close, stand back. if your using a DSLR play around with the aperture giving them a shallow depth of field will will make what your focused on sharp with everything around it looking blurry 

Don be afraid if you have one put your Dslr in one of those manual settings, yeah they are a bit scary, but they give you control that auto just can’t. try it on one of those walks, then there is no pressure , sure you may loose a few shots at first but when you get the hang of it you will definitely be a better photographer.

Play around with editing, I know, I’m not a purist, but its so much  fun! I don’t have photo shop (price is too high for something i don’t use religiously, i use Camera bag 2 on my iMac, and after light on my phone photos, I’ve also heard great things about vsco Cam, these apps will help you get the feel you want from your photo and give you another way of customising your art. 

Pick a place to display your work and jot a few words to go with them. 
a blog 
and instagram account(this is my public account)
a notebook with a printed picture 
a wall 
a scrapbook with stickers and frills

its up to you how you you display them, but you’ll want the writing when your memory is a bit foggy on why you took this picture of a leaf.

Take notes
sometimes you don't have time to stop and take a picture or you have an idea for a photo you want to take, keep a small notebook and pen with you so you don't forget
Look, look at everything!
Make it a habit to thank God for the beauty of his creation, the feelings it inspires in you, and the vision he has given to you.


If we can train our minds and hearts to use this little piece of technology as a tool to be more open eyed  and aware of the blessings god has put in our lives, to develop a habit of gratitude and a heart of praise to the God of the universe, using a camera as a way to worship and seek him and Seek his way and will then we will get much more than a pile of pretty pictures, we will have a grateful heart 

Colossians 3:23 ESv

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

1 comment:

  1. Lindsey, this is so incredibly beautiful! I know you must have been a nervous wreck trying to do the public speaking part, but your writing, photos and all around message are spot on! Even half way across the globe you still touch my heart and share your learned wisdom and talent with me! I so needed to read this, thank you for getting out of your comfort zone and sharing (I'm jealous of the people who got a personal presentation!)

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