Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Chasing the Light"

Words and photos by Valerie Anderson

"Outdoor Photography magazine has an interesting article this month about the value of "chasing the light" by Ian Plant.

He says that it isn't really about photographic technique.

It is about a way of life.

A state of being.

And I quote:  "It is about chasing those rare magical fuels our passion...and becomes our raison d'etre..essential philosophies and techniques that guide (our workd)...a light chaser's manifesto, if you will. Master these tips and you just won't be chasing the light--you will be capturing magical moments that inspire and amaze"  (Plant OP page 70, May 2011).

As a photographer of the new Kansas City Temple, I feel like I am enjoying the best of both worlds.

I love photography.  I remember the first camera I owned.  I was 12 and I was traveling out of state with a group of girls my age.  My parents gave it to me. It was a Kodak 110 and it was everything a girl my age could love.  It took pictures.  MY pictures.  They were my stories.  My history.  It was simple and easy.  The best for my age and where I was experience-wise.

The temple is a lot like that first Kodak 110 for youth in the Church.  They can attend the temple for the first time when they are 12.  They begin to have their own temple stories.  Establishing their histories.  Usually they have been prepared by their parents and they can go with other kids their age. The worship and service that they give there is best for their age and their life experiences.

Many years have past since I owned that first Kodak 110 camera and I have had a camera in my life ever since.  As my skills have developed, as I have studied and read, my talents have improved.  But it takes time, dedication and practice.

Temple attendance is very much the same.  As I converted to Mormonism 23 years ago this week, I have lived with its teachings since.  As my doctrinal understanding has developed, as I have studied and read, my talents to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as best as I can are improving.  I am learning how to adapt to superior knowledge the temple has to offer.  But it takes time, devotion and practice as well.

There were some other tidbits of advice that were spot on.  Not only when talking photography, but the temple and some purposes for our lives.

Shoot Into The Light:
Great advice when working with light is to find balance.  Too much light in a photograph can cause a flare, which distracts the viewer from the original reason you shot the picture.  Too much light can actually erase any other feature in a photograph and take it to a point that it doesn't hold any value at all.  Balance is the key.  Many modern-day prophets and apostles agree.

Learn To Love Bad Weather:
"The magic happens when the weather turns nasty."  If you think about most landscape photographs, it is when the clouds are flared up, the light is dodgy, or there is something going on that isn't a perfectly-blue-sky-day that makes the picture interesting.  Some of my best photos have been in imperfect weather.  Life is like that for me as well.  I have known adversity. Imperfection. At the end of the day, I think adversity makes me more empathetic and kinder.  A more interesting photograph of me, if you will. Perhaps revealing an image that is more like the Savior.

The stiller, the deeper, and the clearer the water is, the better you can capture a reflection.  Reflection is a unique way to represent an image. Reflection of our life is no different.  Still, deep and clear meditative reflection helps to ground us, bring insight to our minds and clarity to our decisions.  I love going to the temple because of the reflective time available to me.  I feel like "still water" when I am there, a feeling I have not consistently found anywhere else.

Unite Land And Sky:
Pay close attention to both the land and sky.  I know some folks when they shoot photographs, they only see the image at hand right in front of them.  I tend to look up.  A lot.  The sky to me is just as important as the main image everyone else may see.  It really is about seeing the "big picture".  All the small pieces that work together to make up the whole story.  

The temple is like that.  It is so many details that make up the main story.

I remember a man who once share an analogy.  He held up a drinking straw to his eye, looking through the entirety of the straw.  "This is what I see", he said.  Just a small sort of tunnel vision.  Then he pulled the straw away from his eye and turned his wrist.  He could see the entire length of the straw then.  "This is what God sees."  He was right.  The temple is designed to have us learn to think like Christ and our Heavenly Father.  Think in "big picture" terms.

Master The Moment:
Henri Cartier-Bresson described photography as "capturing the 'decisive moment' in which one is able to record an essential interaction of subjects as its peak...ideally, revealing something about the character...when power is at it's fullest, filled with energy and possibility."  Attending the temple does just that.  Revealing the true character of who we are as sons and daughters of God.  Full of energy.  Possibility.  Power.  It is about that "decisive moment" that we truly see eternity and daily decide the degree of our discipleship.

Did you know that raison d'etre is a French phrase meaning, "reason for existence"?  Temples are here on Earth as expressions of love from our God, our Father, to us.  They are gifts given to provide the opportunity for us to learn our raison d'etre...our reason for existence.  I sincerely believe this to be true.

May the completion of the Kansas City Temple do just that...fuel your passion to find out your reasons.  I know there are surely many."

Valerie always gets it.  She gets the 'good shots' and she gets the gospel.  She gets Temple Chasing.

Do you get Temple Chasing too?  It's catching. Email me if you would like to share your thoughts about the Kansas City Temple.  


1 comment:

Julie said...

Beautiful post this morning. Thanks.


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