Two nights ago I read a very short essay on photography. The author (Scott Bourne) exhorted readers to revisit a site time and time again. To shoot the scene from above, below, left, right, with new settings and depth….all because in photography we try to capture three dimensions in a two dimensional frame. When you also consider we artists may try to communicate a sense of the environment and emotion in those same two dimensions I think you can agree the task of making art communicate is actually harder than it looks.
So that is why I again visited a familiar subject. The cross in our sanctuary at St. Thomas Aquinas Church here in Alpharetta, Georgia. I’ve heard a few sermons about Christ’s victory on the cross recently, and it made me think in new ways about those hours when he sacrificed himself for us. Then last week I read about using flash with grid to isolate a subject in broad daylight. Well I had no flash, but I could play with my exposure meter just enough to get me on my way to the same effect. So in the silence of the church I was able conceive in my mind a vision of a piece of art I wanted to share.
I wanted to convey the feeling the devil wanted Christ, and you and I, to feel when crucified or targeted by his dark friends. I wanted to convey the sense of darkness surrounding Christ on the cross. While I conveyed that, I also wanted to give us viewers a sense of hope. I did that by making sure the inner light of the word made flesh shone out above the darkness. I thought this might show how he gives hope to the world in our darkest moments.
See I could also see, in the back of my mind, the terrible atrocities being committed against Christians in the Middle East. Boys and girls my son’ Kevin’s s age are being tortured, and murdered, under the crucifixes of their churches because their hearts stand with God. As a father and shepherd, my heart and gut is wrenched thinking of what happened to them. I fear what could happen to my sweet children, if spiritual and martial defenses weaken in the slightest degree. The darkness is my fear revealed.
I can also see the light. Those young innocents and martyrs also demonstrate complete faith in Christ’s word. They literally display the faith of a child in the face of men with weapons and fully developed strength. Those children are the light of Christ on the cross, hands outspread, using their final acts of faith to call me to greater unity with God in my daily lives.
I have so much more I need to learn and do to live the life God intended for me. It makes me wonder who and where my next lesson will arise from.