I received an email, not too long ago, from a friend of mine who had a great question I thought I would share here on the blog:
Apart from putting Scripture on a picture, how will a Christian’s work glorify God, as opposed to a non-believers? In areas like portraits or weddings there is the issue of modesty, but how should a Christian’s landscape work be different? Will the images be different, or just the mentality of the photographer?
Here’s my brief reply. One could write volumes on this subject, but here’s what I was inspired with when I responded:
I would say there are many ways that a Christian photographer differs from a non-Christian photographer apart from imprinting Scriptures and shooting wholesome content. Think of motivations. What purposes do non-believers have in this world? Fulfillment of desire? inner peace? desire to be recognized? mammon? What’s in the heart of an artist is reflected in his work. You may not always perceive motivations by observing a work of art by itself; but sooner or later, the artist who passionately pursues his “inner desire” will fall to one extreme or another eventually. That’s why this world venerates modern art, deviant art, Zen philosophy, utopian perspective, and may I go so far as to say "National Geographic recognition obsession".
The godless-ness in art today, whether subtle or blatant, springs from the root of relativism. When there is no One setting the rules, mankind becomes the rule-maker himself and anything goes. Man has become lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasting, proud, unholy, without natural affection, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. And so these are the messages that they are trying to portray in their art.
Speaking outside the scope of content, I have found that even the actions and process of shooting landscapes requires Christian principle. Has equipment failed you? Have you failed yourself while you’ve been shooting in the field? Have you beat yourself up for missing the “moment”? Have you put a higher priority on photography than relationships? I have, to my shame. But going beyond introspection, are you a radiant, outward witness to those you meet while shooting in the field? Do you know how to use your camera as a tract to witness to folks? Do folks know that you are a Creationist or that you shoot for Gods glory?
Those are some of my initial thoughts, at least. Thanks for asking! It’s good to delve deeper into the world of Christian photography.
We talk more about this kind of stuff during the CAPTURE workshops. There are many things to learn as a Christian photographer, more than just a knowledge of camera buttons, composition technique, and adjustment sliders.