A child in the landscape
It has been months since I updated this blog. Summer has been and gone and with it my best intentions to keep up a regular supply of new photography! I have an excuse, though. I am a grandfather. What a privilege!
This surprisingly beautiful Irish summer will long be remembered in our family for the explosion of energy and joy, the flurry of arms and legs, the bouncing curls and dancing eyes of sweet Eliza.
I tend to capture landscapes that are people free. Unless the inclusion of a human figure helps to provide a sense of scale or has a particular connection to the landscape I wait until I have the scene to myself. But I've discovered that a grandchild brings something very special and universal to landscape photography: particular emotions, evocation of memories, the viewpoint of a child, a sense of innocence and wonder that we so quickly lose.
First there was the fun of announcing her arrival. All it took was a simple image of one of the symbols of childhood in these parts: a bucket on a beach.
(In case you are wondering why the seawater is so brown, it often is along our shores where rivers flow into the sea, carrying water from the peat bogs high in the glens.)
The next step was to wait until my granddaughter posed obligingly beside the bucket.
Anyone looking at this in Florida will wonder how a little girl on a beach on a sunny day would need to be dressed like this. Remember - this is Ireland, almost at its northernmost point. (Granny's winter knitting was very necessary!)
The photo gave me an idea. For me this is my granddaughter. But because we cannot see her face, for everyone who doesn't know she becomes a little girl, representative of every little girl. A symbol of childhood. And rather than looking at her, we are looking with her, seeing what she is seeing, especially as I was shooting from her eye level, not mine.
And that perhaps takes us on our own little journey. The first time we saw the sea; the first time we took our children to the sea. When all of life is about that single moment: a moment of wonder.
From then on, while I took many photos of her from a variety of angles, I sought on most occasions to get down to her level (not always easy when you are 60!) and capture what she was seeing.
Amongst the many scenes captured during this best of summers, this is my favourite. I call it - you guessed it - "Innocence and Wonder".
Thank you Mr. Lennox. I was fortunate enough to hear you speak at my church during the Xenos Summer Institute this year. To be honest, I didn't actually plan on attending your session on 1 Peter. The session I planned on attending was moved and time was short, so my wife and I had to find a backup session. Your room was close, and since you came from overseas we thought this was at least an opportunity to hear someone we may not get to hear in person again. In spite of perhaps not having the highest of expectations going in, it turned out to be one of the more impactful sessions I attended. I can't say that there was something radically new that I had never heard before, but what resonated with me was your passion and high value for God's word and the blessings of consistent and persistent study.
You mentioned that you enjoyed photography, which is what brought me here. I know of at least one other Bible teacher who is also an excellent photographer, and as I considered this I was struck by the similarity of the two activities. Photography is a unique art form, because the artist does not create something new. He may capture a stunning landscape or a beautiful portrait, but these things existed apart from his talent or his effort. The real gift of the photographer is the ability to recognize the beauty, to frame it with his camera as he sees it in his mind, to capture an image in a particular light, from a particular perspective that invites the viewer to share in the pleasure of the artist.
Likewise, a Bible teacher is not the creator of his subject. He wanders through God's word like a photographer walking in nature, looking for truth as the artist looks for beauty. Just as a photographer is able to recognize beauty in even ordinary subjects, such as a rock or an old wall, so also a good Bible teacher recognizes truth in what many people may pass over as ordinary and uninteresting in scripture, framing it in a new light and providing a new perspective that makes the hearer pause to contemplate the beauty of a newly recognized truth.
Perhaps these two gifts are coincidence, and if so, it is clear that God has gifted you in both areas and I'm grateful that you are faithful to use those gifts to glorify the Giver.
P.S. - I suppose if there is any validity to this analogy, that would make Photoshop heresy!
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