3. I love GOD = I love photography

In loving photography, I love GOD.

For a long time, I have have been conflicted in my relationship between GOD and my photography. I’ve questioned: should I like photography as much as I do? How can I photograph for GOD so that I don’t feel so guilty about liking it so much? Does GOD frown because I like doing this hobby? Can I ever say that I love taking photographs? I have been in great need for deep, mind changing revelations in order to live in harmony with both. But following my listening to an audiobook those answers came like a breath of fresh air. In an instant of hearing a small collection of sentences, I had left the battleground raging in my mind and heart and walked into freedom and life.

This is what GOD wants me to know:

It’s good to love photography. In fact, it’s very good.

I needed to know that, because GOD first created and we are made in His image. So, being made in His image means that that same spark that was used when the universe exploded into being is embedded into us. We can create just like Him. I have felt really bad that I have loved photography and creativity, but that is wrong because that gargantuan attachment I have is part of His design for me. He wants me to know that my makeup is to enjoy creating and the joy I feel when I shoot and capture with my camera is the joy He wants me to feel. And when I feel that, He feels that joy too. Ah man, a wonderful relief came over me when discovering that my joy, my love for photography comes from GOD and He wants me to feel that and He loves to see me enjoying it. I had to know that my conflict doesn’t come from GOD but, rather, from the game plan strategised by the devil, who wants to steal, kill and destroy my GOD given joy and turn it into shame and fear.

The truth I must know in my heart, is that when I photograph, it draws me closer to GOD and not away (like the devil would want), because in drawing closer to GOD, I use and create and enjoy His gift of creation; His gift of photography in the correct way. That with Him, I will truly know the thrill and the satisfaction photography can give.

GOD gave me photography to enjoy and take pleasure in because when I do, it gives Him pleasure. It delights Him. In knowing this, living this, I won’t struggle any longer with my love for photography because it comes from a perfect place. In my heart, what I feel for creativity is justified and good. Because that is what GOD Himself said about ALL His creation.

It’s good to love photography. In fact, it’s very good.

So GOD, thank you for creating in me that deep, satisfying desire to create and photograph; that I can relish in that same essence that you loved when you created the universe and me. Thank you GOD for revealing to me, imparting in me my deep desire to create and be like You. Thank you for photography. Amen.

2. Even the birds

We are all obsessed, fanatical, preoccupied with the subject of ‘Home.’

Our necessity to make that four letter word an object of pride in our lives is a drive that never really ends. We all have that innate need to have a home. Some say it is a human right. This, I would agree it is. Society sees us rented, mortgaged, indebted by it, to it. Yet we strive; sweat blood and tears for it and to have the best version of it we can. This ideology is purely based on my 1st world undertaking of it, yet even at its most primitive and basic, home is a place we all crave for.

My latest photographic project sees me exploring this core societal requirement to begin to interrogate our inherent necessity for ‘Home’ and investigating the DNA of this prerequisite to see if it is a deep spiritual longing that not many realise is there. Within us. Whether our addiction to it is really a calling to a home where the truest sense of the word; a deep satisfaction with ‘Home’ is felt.

To flip the coin and address the upsetting side of “Home’, one cannot turn away from the fact that there is a staggering number of people, around the world, who are homeless. In 2015, the UN recorded that there was a figure close to 100 million people declared homeless and a further 1.6 billion people living in inadequate housing. That was 7 years ago and the trend that these figures often project, can only suggest that these figures are a lot more now.

But this calling inside us for home is a universal one, irrespective of our geography, background or ability to buy, rent or squat. Where our needs and requirements are fulfilled, perfectly.

My memory is again called to a place in the Bible that speaks of God providing enough for the birds. It speaks of our realising that if God can provide for the birds, then how much more will He provide for us, His pinnacle of creation.

As much as there is so much inequality in the world, even in the basic necessities of life, maybe our dream home isn’t where we think it is. Rather, it is somewhere else. In preparation. To be revealed at a time and point where all of us can enjoy what we get so wrong in our present age. That, like the birds of the sky who don’t toil and strive, stress and crave for a home, we too can just live without any pressures of the societal restraints that manage and stop so many accessing the basic need of a shelter above our heads.

Wouldn’t that be heaven?

1. Neighbour

Saturday, October 30th & Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Last week – October 30th – my wife and I took our three boys to the Dino Kingdom at Thoresby Hall. Nearing our destination, my eye was drawn to a vast flooded field where trees, bushes and stumps protruded from the waters surface. It was quite disturbing to observe, as all previous roadside vistas had nothing of this sort of narrative nor devastation on show. It was striking.

A week later, – 6th November – I have been mulling over this impacting scene. A dead cert reason for its origin has been addressed, at length, in the pomp and circumstance of the COP26 in Glasgow, during this past week. But, in my own contemplation, a Bible story came to memory that challenged me more than the degree of hypocritical airings adorning the COP26 lecterns. In it, it spoke of the same issues debated in Glasgow, those of help and need; ignorance and unconditional care and attention yet with greater authenticity. The story’s subject, who delivered the necessary help, came from the most unlikely of sources yet recognised that state and wealth; position and title; vocation and political affiliation didn’t matter and shouldn’t in order to address the simplest of humane actions. Jesus the storyteller, invited listeners to understand that our neighbours should be loved, valued and cared for just as much as we do ourselves. That exploring what ‘a neighbour’ means to you exposes us all to the sorts of treatment and love that we all are deserving and in need of.

So, who is your neighbour? Define our neighbours?

Thinking about my photograph – that begins a new chapter in my image making – and the experience I had taking and exploring it, it dawned on me that our neighbours aren’t just found in the human relationships we have. Our ‘neighbour’ is also found in the neglected relationship we have with the Earth. The ancient law of God commands us to, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ and live. Eternally. Those five words are soaked in connection and a harmony we have with one another and the Earth and my drive is to interrogate these relationships with my photography. Do we define the Earth as a neighbour? If we read the Good Samaritan and took a role as one of the three passersby, which one would we honestly be? Could that change our role in how we treat our planetary neighbour, if we decided we were one of the first two to witness the Samaritan, bruised, battered and dying? How many of us can actually say we are being a Good Samaritan to the Earth?

Is the Earth YOUR neighbour? Yes, it is. A resounding, heartfelt yet heartbroken and embarrassing YES.

Love it and live.