A World of Words

by | May 26, 2023 | Perspective | 3 comments

The other morning, I was reading Matthew 12. As a photographer, verse 36 popped out to me: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

“Idle” in that verse literally means lazy, the trait of shunning work which ought to be done. It is in context of a fruit tree bearing good fruit or “corrupt” (rotten, worthless) fruit. Our words are either good or bad. And God will hold us accountable for them. The very next verse is, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

But why did this stand out to me as a photographer? Well, you know the old saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”!

I take a lot of photos. And it’s fascinating to think about all the thoughts and ideas and feelings that are packaged up in each one! Here are some random photos from our spring travels that I hadn’t ever shared yet.

230401_James Staddon_9029 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 89 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

This is a fairly random scene from a rest stop in Pennsylvania. Julianna and I were traveling to Connecticut for Easter. The golden hour light was gorgeous, and this was the best place we could find to pull off to take a photo.

What would you say the thousand words are in that photo? Maybe sentences centered around “the end of a workday”? Or “quiet”? Or “annoying” (because all the trees are in the way)? Smile

230401_James Staddon_9043 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 165 mm, 1-5 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 400

Here’s another photo from a couple miles down the road. After the golden hour light faded when the sun went behind a bank of clouds, we hit the road again. But then the sky above us turned a gorgeous pink! So we pulled off at the next exit and meandered through the countryside till we found something picture-worthy. By that time, the pink was gone, but the scene in front of me was still worth photographing.

The words that this photo speaks are very similar to the first one. But there’s more of a sense of “loneliness” woven into this photo somehow. Maybe because it’s a little darker. There’s no direct sunlight. Maybe one feels like they have been left outside in the dark when they should be inside where it’s cozy and warm. There are many warm hues in the photo, but there is some blue now in the distant mountains and sky. That probably contributes to the feeling of “distance” in the photo. There is blurred grass at the front of the scene, so perhaps that gives the impression that my physical presence is in the field, and that there is quite a long way to traverse to get to a more hospitable location. The trees are bare which maybe subconsciously communicates the feeling of it being “cold” there.

Have I said a thousand words yet about that photo? Nope, only 221. Smile But we have yet to talk about the empty fields around the barn, the towers on the hillside, the many represented textures, and the distracting little 40mph sign in the bottom right corner!

230403_James Staddon_3204 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 70 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 200

Now we’re in Connecticut. Taking a stroll at beautiful golden hour again. The backlit buds were calling for me! What words are they speaking? What feelings are communicated through the gradients, textures, lens flare, specular highlights, colors, . . . or lack of colors?! Oh, there is a world of words in every photo!

230403_James Staddon_3210 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 200

I took several photos of the boardwalk on which we were strolling, but I only decided to share one with the world. And that’s what it’s like with our words too. We have many, many thoughts! But only the ones that are spoken will we be judged by.

230411_James Staddon_3238 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

After the Easter celebrations, we traveled to Indiana. While on the road again, I wanted to capture the sunset, so we found ourselves driving through the countryside again. The sun and sky didn’t really cooperate this time. And the only thing I could think to take a picture of was a weed. The whole thing is such an ugly picture. Why did I even share it in the first place?! I wish I could take it back.

230411_James Staddon_3237 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

Maybe I’ll try a different approach. “Overexposing” sometimes helps ugly photos look better. But yuck. I shall cease to post more here lest I continue to increase my embarrassment!

230411_James Staddon_3240 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 38 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 100

Perhaps a change of perspective is what I needed there.

Photos speak many different things. In a sense, they are words in a different form. Many, many words packaged for instant delivery. And they are my words, if I am the one showcasing the photo.

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”

You can tell the kind of treasure in the heart of a photographer by looking at their photos! Do I have a good heart? Is it good enough by God’s standards? Not unless my degenerate heart has been regenerated by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ!

May we bring forth good fruit unto God. May our photos be pleasing to Him in every feeling, word and emotion they depict.

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  1. Warrior Princess

    Oh, yes, all of what you said is so true. May we ever glorify God through the words our photos hold!

  2. Jamie Parfitt

    Where can I share a few photos as a reply? Good example of wishing you had not “posted” (spoken) certain words!

    • James Staddon

      Hmm. Maybe you could attach photos to a new topic on the Q&A forum (www.lenspiration.com/qanda) and then place a link to that topic here?


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