Learning by Doing

Photography: An Expression of Faith Workshop | Austin, Texas

A New Workshop, Looking at a Unique Aspect of Our Photography

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We All See the World Differently

The way we see the world around us, our "world view", is shaped by so many different factors. And as a result, how we see the world shapes how we create photographs of this amazing world. I am trying something completely different with this workshop. I want this to be an opportunity to gather a group of photographers to explore how we might use photography as an expression of our "faith".

"Faith" means many different things to different people. Some say they never want to discuss two topics: "religion" and "politics". I am going to stay FAR away from politics, but I want to explore the faith and religion aspect because of the important impact it has in people's lives and shapes how they view the world.

A Few Quotes by Ansel Adams ...
  • "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."
  • "No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit."
  • "Sometimes I arrive just when God's ready to have someone click the shutter."
  • "A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety."

Using Photography as Expression of Our Faith - Respecting Our Differences

This world has become way too polarized, and my intent with this workshop is to be open to people of all religions, denominations, and faiths. Sometimes what "divides" us is the use of words. What if we did not use words at all? What if, instead of words, we simply use images, photographs, as the means of expressing our faith? Maybe without using words, we can begin to understand others' perspectives a bit more, and perhaps gain new insights about our own perspectives. Sometimes words get in the way. As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words."

I come at this from my personal perspective as a Christian. I would love to see how others, regardless of their faith and religious heritages, might explore this topic together... Christians of various denominations, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Just from my own perspectives of the Christian faith, I think it is an intriguing challenge to express core faith concepts... "hope", "mercy", "love", "forgiveness", "reconciliation"... by only using images.

Lets approach this from a perspective that we all see these matters differently, and that we can embrace these differences as being "ok". I know, even from my own life as a Christian, I have changed and evolved in how I understand all this, and I probably will continue to evolve. This is an environment where it is ok to be different, and we can show respect to others, and tolerance of other views.

My faith means a lot to me. Not to acknowledge that my faith shapes who I am and how I see the world, would be a mistake. It really does affect how I create photographs. So it seems only right to include this as another way we can approach our photographic expressions of how we see the world.

Maybe you have a strong faith. Maybe you are "spiritual" but don't affiliate with any religion. Maybe you are still searching for answers, but find yourself stuck with more questions than answers. I bet you might still find this exercise worthwhile. Even if you are not sure if any of this applies to you, perhaps you might gain some new insights by working on a project to create a photograph of what "forgiveness" looks like. So, regardless of where you are on these matters, you are still invited. Come as you are.

What kind of camera?

Literally any type of camera will do fine for this, whether it is a digital SLR or a point-and-shoot camera or even a smart-phone! The point with this class is the challenge of how we go about doing our photography to express these concepts without the use of words.

The Three Sessions

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