So let’s talk about religion. No, wait, come back!
Before you run off shrieking at the thought of being preached to on what is predominantly a photography blog, let me explain.
Ask me what religion I am, and my answer would be vague. I have fairly strong beliefs, but they don’t necessarily fit in with any religion I’ve found.
Bad experiences with Christianity in my childhood have pretty much ruled that out for life, and whilst parts of Buddhism appeal greatly, I’m just too embedded in my western materialistic ways to embrace it fully.
I don’t feel the need to go to any church because my beliefs are personal, as is my relationship with a creator, which, incidentally, I do believe in.
For me the beauty of world must have some creative act behind it – and therefore a creator.
A chance explosion just doesn’t work as a theory for me.
Which also fits in with some of the deepest reasons I photograph.
By hunting for beauty, camera in hand, I feel comforted, reassured and soothed, amidst the chaos, panic and hyper-connected hurly burly of 21st century life.
Going out with a camera feels like a spiritual act, a way to reconnect with something vastly bigger and deeper than myself.
Call it Mother Nature, the work of the creator, God’s green earth, whatever you wish.
It enriches me, recharges me, rejuvenates me, and helps me feel insignificant yet reconnected with the universe simultaneously.
And if the camera is my conduit to nature’s divinity, then the woods, meadows, and churchyards I most commonly frequent are my places of worship.
Unlike many religions, I don’t feel I need to spread the Good News by encouraging others to go to church.
I spread the Good News (beauty is always around us, if you just look hard enough and long enough) by sharing my photographs, reminding people that this beauty can be captured with cameras available and affordable to any of us.
You don’t need hundreds of pounds. You don’t even need 10 pounds.
Speaking of church, it is no coincidence I visit these more and more these days. But not on a Sunday morning with the local congregation.
My visits are usually on weekdays or weekend afternoons where there’s no-one else around, so I’m free to soak in the almost indescribable reverence and hushed awe I feel in these buildings.
Maybe its the defiant simplicity of the structures themselves, that have stood at the heart of communities for centuries.
Maybe it’s the ghosts of the thousands that have passed through their doors, kneeled at their pews, gazed at the light through their windows.
Or maybe God Is In The House.
Whatever the reasons, I can’t see me radically changing the way this photography religion has evolved in the last decade and more. Give praise!
How about you? What does photography do for you? Where do you like to photograph most?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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