Capture or Create? Photography and the Imago Dei
The divine image has massive implications for the digital image. If you don’t think so, you’re missing a huge part of what it means to be a photographer.
In my profession I am constantly “capturing.” That is how I approach my craft. Though I am not formally trained in photojournalism per se, I do approach portraiture with a photojournalist’s mindset. I observe. I story-tell. But I don’t truly create.
Before you get all up-in-arms about what it means to be creative, let me explain what I mean: All of the stuff I use to capture a digital image was created by God.
God Created it All
- Light: The most important tool a photographer utilizes is light. I don’t have to tell you that God said it and then it was. I am grateful to Him each time I shoot because His gift of light enables me to do my job.
- Camera Technology: Cameras have come a long way. I am so thankful I don’t have to invent the incredible tools I have at my disposal every day. There is, however, some genius somewhere in Silicon Valley researching this technology and he is working with . . . dust. Yeah, I said it: dust. God created the earth out of dust and ever since we have never gotten over all of the different combinations we can come up with to fashion these things together with it.
- People: Most of what I do is some type of portraiture: a musician’s album booklet, marketing spreads, and sometimes wedding photography. When it comes to capturing the content of my photos, I use light (which God created out of nothing) to fix an image of one of His creatures who, according to Genesis 1, bears the image of the Living God. In this sense I am not creating, I am merely casting my perspective on God’s creation and sharing it with others.
Now, I do think being “creative” is a testament to a creative God but I don’t think we can/should compare ourselves to an artist who created everything out of nothing. This is why I say “capture” instead of “create.” Perhaps more so than any art form, photography should remind us of our utter dependence on the supreme Creative. Every day I spend with my camera I am chasing the divine image housed in His creation. Thanks be to God that He created it all.
And, He created it all with ultimate skill and beauty.
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