Contemplative Photography

Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice

(Afternoon Elective)

(Note: this is not a workshop about the technical aspects of photography; we will use photographic processes to help us to see differently. You can use a camera, tablet/iPad or a phone with a camera. Suitable for anyone! No photographic experience needed.)

Theme: Seeing Beauty in All Things. It takes courage to look long enough to truly see. When we truly see, we recognise beauty. 

Photography can be a way to see more deeply and can be a profoundly spiritual experience if we approach it in that way.  Photography helps us see what we miss in our busy lives and reveals God’s presence in all things.  If we look in a sacred way, we explore more faithfully, expand our creative vision, become more alive and allow God to speak to us through creation. 

During the elective we will learn to shift our focus from looking to seeing. By doing this we will uncover beauty and open up to the sacred presence.  We’ll learn to see creation as God sees it – full of wonder and delight.  We’ll search out and find beauty in unlikely places and learn to appreciate, enjoy and let go, instead of trying to hold on tightly.  We’ll learn to slow down and linger and see beyond the superficial.  We’ll learn about light and darkness, the hidden and the revealed, and discover the beauty and the holy in creation, in others and in ourselves.

Day 1 - Introduction to Photography as Christian Contemplative Practice and Visio Divina 

(This first afternoon session is also open to 'Mix it Up' and 'Retreat Mode' participants)

On our first day we’ll talk about photography as contemplative practice and how we can use it to enhance our spiritual lives. You may be familiar with meditating on the written Word as a way to listen for God’s voice.  This form of deep, heart-centred prayer helps us encounter, understand and respond to God’s activity in our lives.  This process called Lectio Divina, where we read, reflect, respond, and rest, can also be applied to pondering on beauty in art or creation (called Visio Divina). 

We’ll learn the Sacred Seeing (Visio Divina) technique using images (you can bring an image you love or a photo you have taken or use one supplied). We’ll also begin the process of taking our own photos outside. Please bring your journal to write your reflections. 

Days 2, 3 and 4

Over the next three days we’ll be learning to use photography as contemplative practice pondering on the following processes and biblical passages:

Opening my eyes to see the world around as God sees it:  Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Opening my eyes to see the people around as God sees them:  Galatians 5:14 “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Opening my eyes to see myself as God sees me:  Zephaniah 3:17  “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Opening my eyes to see my future as God sees it:  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This workshop invites you to play, walk and search out images, and includes times of quiet reflection and journalling so is best suited to adults or older teenagers.

Jennifer Taylor became passionate about the positive impact of art when teaching photography at a community photographic centre in Canberra. She studied photomedia at Canberra art school and later completed a B.Vis.Arts (glass) at the South Australian School of Art in 2006. Since then she has undertaken paid and voluntary work as a community artist, mostly working with disadvantaged groups. For more than 10 years Jennifer has been involved in the Christian Meditation community and feels called to open people to the Creator through creative arts practices. Having recently qualified as a transpersonal (spiritually focussed) art therapist, she plans to offer workshops and retreats using art to develop and deepen faith and spirituality as well as offering one-on-one art therapy sessions.

Contemplative Photography is offered as an Afternoon Elective in 2018. Minimum and maximum registration numbers apply to all electives with places awarded on a first come first served basis. Please ensure that you have indicated a second choice for both Morning and Afternoon Electives when registering online in case your first choice is unavailable.

Note:  You may also be interested in the peer led 'morning' Photography elective which you can read about HERE

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