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  • Photography is a curious mix of magic and accident. My job as a photographer is to bear witness to life's mistakes. There is skill involved, of course. But the skill only goes so far as to capture, as best one can, the ultimately uncontrollable, to capture that which cannot be captured: the randomness inherent in life.

    It is a privilege to be able to do so, to bear witness to life's utterly baffling unfolding, to watch as life reveals itself to you. For the best pictures are what life chooses to show us. The photographer has been in the right place at the right time. Their artistry bows down before the ultimate artistry of Life, of God.

    Life, the artist; the photographer, the paintbrush.

    Photography, of the old school variety, where prints come in packages and one must wait patiently for their development, has an innate ability to reveal qualities about ourselves, about life, that we were previously unaware of. Something happens when I put the view finder to my eye and look through the lens. It is something altogether different than snapping a photo with my iphone (that I don't own).

    I like to think of it as putting on my "hyper-real" glasses. Suddenly life seems so much more aesthetic, and I become amazed at the absolute beauty and irrelevance of life's design. Patterns leap and shine before my eyes. Light and shadow become partners in some elaborate metaphysical dance.
    Life, as a photograph, becomes more real.

    How is this possible?

    It is possible because we forget to put on our hyper-real glasses most of the time. Life is generally dull with brief interludes of memorable moments, the rest a grey recollection of shifting shapes and passing time. Photography reminds us that life is dull only if we choose it to be so, and that really, the shifting landscapes of serendipity are always offering themselves to our attention.

    Recently, I had a unique experience. It was the first time this has ever happened to me and I have been using film since high school. I had asked someone to take a picture of me and when I got the photo developed I was shocked to find an expression on my face that I could not identify.

    In all the years that I have seen photographs of myself, the expression was utterly new. I almost recoiled from it's unfamiliarity. It shocked me.

    Could it be that the photograph revealed something about myself I did not yet know?

    Yes...which begs the question, could it be that I do not know myself as well as I think?

    Photography has the ability to reveal Truth. This is something I had never experienced personally as I did recently. Somehow the camera, the photographer with the aid of Life, had managed to reveal something about myself that I was totally unaware of.

    Similarly, photography has the ability to reveal the truth of life because it captures what we are unable or unwilling to see.
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