Last night I had a great time with my friend Josh just hanging out and shooting (our cameras) under a nearby overpass. I’ve had this recent thought that photography can be a little like studying the Bible, and vice versa. In Bible study, we always want to dig deeper in to a passage until we can’t dig any further and we’ve pulled out all the nuggets we can find. The classic example is one of my teachers from high school said that when he was in seminary he was told to go study Ephesians 5:18 and write down 20 different observations. Unfortunately, it’s not a long passage, so getting 20 would be tough — though not impossible. When all the students returned to class with their observations the professor was satisfied, but then he assigned the same assignment again, only this time they would have to think of 20 more observations, all of which needed to be different than the first set they turned. This continued until they had something like 50-75 different observations on one passage. Each student was forced dig deep, then dig a little deeper, then even more. But in the end they were taught never to underestimate the power of observation and being able to study well.
I think the same goes for photography. Last night we spent almost 3 hours underneath the 5 freeway and we weren’t bored. We saw different angles and different objects to fill our camera frame. We tried different lighting and different poses in order to create something new and inventive. I laid in the ground and my friend Josh got inside of a concrete tube. Nothing was going to stop us from getting everything out of that place as we could, and now I feel like we’ve got some great images. All we have to do is take the time and effor to dig a little deeper and we’ll start to see change. For Josh and me, we started to see how to make a concrete tube look new and interesting and even how to use a porta potty for something other than going to the restroom.
My desire is always to dig deeper, but sometimes I just give up a little early. In Bible study, I probably short myself on time and don’t let the verses sink in long enough for me to dwell on them and think through them. In photography it’s similar — I give up too early and don’t pursue a subject or a place long enough to know what it’s all about. I think I’m going to continue to try this out in both my study of God’s Word and in my photography. I have this feeling that the results will be both a blessing and encouraging.