Seeing God’s Beauty Through a Camera Lens

[Ed. note: This article is part of our series of weekly reflections, called Deep Down Things, published on Wednesdays.]

There is beauty everywhere—just everywhere! We are surrounded by it and yet it is so easy not to see it.

Working through a few dropped calls, a swan wandering through his backyard, and gracefully-handled interruptions from his children photographer Scott Myers spoke with me recently about his work. We talked about God’s revelation of himself in nature, the ineradicable imago dei in humans, and the exuberant beauty of God’s creation—if we can but learn to see it.

Flourish has written about Myers before (read “From Destruction to Creation: One Photographer’s Journey to learn more about how Myer’s conversion to Christianity affected his photography), but this time we wanted to explore three of Myer’s photographs to find out what he sees when he views God’s world through his camera lens and what it has to do with creation care.

 

creation-care-flower

Photo by Scott Myers

Flourish Magazine: Tell me about this photo. [Above].

Scott Myers: I made this photo for an art auction for an adoption fundraiser some friends were having. It is 4 feet by 8 feet. It is so large and clear you can see little bugs crawling inside of it. The flower is Queens Anne’s Lace. It is a throwaway roadside weed, but it is unbelievably beautiful when you look at closer at it. I like to take pictures of things that aren’t obviously beautiful; it is a theme that runs through all my photography.

That is one of the things about creation that I struggle with: there are things within creation that are difficult like the thorns and thistles, predation within animals, decay, yet life comes from those things too. The world is fallen, but there is a cycle to that fallenness that holds great beauty within it.

FM: You’ve really captured the orderliness of the flower.

SM: Order is everywhere in nature. If you are looking at something natural that seems chaotic, you probably aren’t looking hard enough. God’s world is ordered. I find that encouraging. There isn’t any real chaos. The deeper you try to understand nature, the more its structure is revealed.

There is beauty everywhere—just everywhere! We are surrounded by it and yet it is so easy not to see it.

FM: Would you say your photography helps you to see the beauty?

SM: Absolutely. God reveals himself through nature. Where I live in the Midwest we don’t have big mountains and grand views. We have little things. You have to see it in the details, but God’s thumbprint is everywhere. The vastness of the mountains and oceans is beautiful—that’s God shouting at you—but he is also whispering everywhere.

creation-care-kelly

Photo by Scott Myers

FM: This is a photo of a friend of yours, right? [Above].

SM: Yes, it is. What I like about this photo is that there is a complete openness. I strive for that in my photography, to remove the masks that people usually wear.

FM: Why is capturing that openness so important to you when you photograph people?

SM: Because it makes the photo real, otherwise it is just surface. This is more than just a pretty photo; there is also the imago dei here. Those same notes of God’s wildness and beauty that you see in nature are all condensed in a face.  That is why faces can be the hardest things to get right in photography.

FM: So, in the same way you see God in a flower, you see God in a face?

SM: Absolutely. People are created in the image of God in every way. Humans are the most complex and wonderful beings in creation.

Photo by Scott Myers

FM: Why photograph water?

SM: I love the color in this photo. Color can have a visceral affect on you. We become inured to it because often in our environment there is a set palette. In Missouri where I live we have some greens and browns with grey or blue skies. One of the things about that water is that it is so outside the normal color palette. Water in Missouri is just not that color.

FM: It is amazing that it takes something out of the ordinary to make us take notice of how beautiful things are.

SM: I think that is normal. It would be hard to function if we were that amazed all the time. I’m not sure that we are meant to maintain that level of being amazed. You need to have those dramatic moments once in a while.

FM: Do you think those are special moments of grace?

SM: Sure. Anytime that you encounter something that has the power to wake you up it is just like life bubbling up. I find it amazing!

 

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