There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
Photography for me is a way of seeing, a way of reaching into life and pulling out its meaning- meaning that can be found both within our ordinary, everyday experiences, as well as those that are breathtakingly beautiful and truly extra-ordinary.
Jan Phillips, one of my favorite authors, says this about photography: ” Every step in the process of taking pictures is a step toward the light, an experience of the holy, an encounter with the God who is at eye level, whose image I see wherever I look.”
My relationship with light in my photography is somewhat tortured and tentative. I remember saying to one of my mentors in Italy, ” I want to learn to understand LIGHT!” It’s the essence of photography. Light is what allows us to see. It is what shapes and colors every object we can see with our eyes; it creates depth, mood, and color. The word photography comes from “photo” or “light” and “graphy” or “writing”, so photography essentially means “light writing”. So although I know very well how to write with words, I am a beginner when it comes to learning how to “write” with light.
Photography is my way of seeing God, of searching for and finding the holy within the everyday. It’s my way of whispering my own personal ‘WOW’ to the universe; my way of writing a thank you note to God for those gifts that are all around us, gifts that are there for the taking if only we choose to LOOK and SEE them. The gifts of nature, of friends, of family; gifts of great happiness, of wonder, of sadness and pain; the gifts of art, of relationship, of history. All those gifts which we have been granted – gifts that are there for the taking, if we only open our eyes to see and receive.
Although I honor those whose personal gift is to directly spread the light, to be a candle through their selfless actions in support of others, I think my way of spreading the light is to be a mirror. Through photography, to be a mirror that helps others to see more clearly, to feel more deeply, and as a result, to perhaps act differently.
I offer here my lessons on learning how to write with light from 2013.
It’s a beautiful day, every day. Look for the light in your day, and whisper your own personal WOW!