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Bethlehem and Golgatha

these were taken at the amazing Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona.


Southwestern Lights

There are no evergreens in the desert, but the natives still do their best to spread Christmas cheer.





Lumens (part 5)

another one for the Lumens series, this time with a little bit of a Christmas-color flare.

Clap·ter

i can't believe it's not a real word...

(this is the first in an ongoing series, which was inspired by my wife)

clap·ter
n.
1. a significant amount of clapping

usage example:
the stadium erupted with clapter when my name was announced.

the following pertinent dialogue is something i actually overheard in real life. i'm not even kidding. it's true. (ok, technically it's not "true," but it might as well be):

LITTLE KID: "mommy, what does 'applause' mean?"

WISE PARENT: "that's just a really pretentious way of saying 'clapter' sweetie."

LITTLE KID: [nodding] "ooooh, ok."

Born Into Brothels

abuse. starvation. poverty. abandonment. despair. no one can deny that these are ugly words. they are also ugly realities in the red light district of calcutta, india.

'born into brothels' is a documentary that chronicles a professional photographer's effort to aid and encourage a group of children who live in these realities everyday. the children are all sons and daughters of prostitutes, who have very little hope of overcoming their incredibly sad and awful circumstances. the photographer, zana briski, lives in the red light district with them and expands their world by teaching them photography. she goes to painstaking efforts to get them out of the brothels and into boarding schools, using the children's own photography to make money for that cause. my description doesn't really do the film justice, because the narrative predominantly focuses on the children and their stunning, often overwhelmingly affecting photography. it would have been very easy for the film to focus primarily on zana's heroic efforts, but that becomes no more than a sidebar in the well-edited story of these creative and beautiful youth.

from a technical standpoint, the film was extremely dense and effective. i could find plenty to comment on along that vein, but i'm not really interested in that at the moment. what ultimately struck me about the film is that it so effectively expresses a very specific truth. it is a truth that few works of art are able to genuinely convey, but when one succeeds, it immediately becomes a personal favorite. it is a truth that brings me to my knees everytime.

and that truth is this - that grace has an incredible power to transform ugliness into beauty. as a Christian, i know of no greater image of this than the cross - an ugly symbol of one of the most horrific, torturous methods of capital punishment in history. and yet it's a symbol made utterly beautiful by the immeasurable grace given on it. for those who merely accept it, this grace transforms the ugly stain of sin into the beauty of righteousness. and though it doesn't always seem like it, this same grace is transforming our broken, fallen world into a place of utter beauty.

just as all of us have done nothing and can do nothing to deserve God's grace, the children in 'brothels' did nothing to deserve zana's time, energy, or help and had little, if anything, to offer her. out of love, she extended a small bit of grace to them, and the result was unbelievable beauty - beauty that extended well beyond the aesthetic value of their photography. it was the beauty of meaningful relationships, of innocence preserved, of impossible hope in the midst of bleak despair. and though only for some of the children, it was the beauty of that hope realized, an opportunity for a life they never thought possible.

what an awesome snapshot of reality in Christ.

Mechnology

this is a menacing shot of a mechanical monster that terrorized my street for days.

Lumens (part 4)

these are my favorite of the whole Lumens series and admittedly, the inspiration for the name of this website.





Sheaf Toss

who can use a pitchfork to toss a bag of hay the highest? my wife's Scottish ancestors are still looking for the answer to that profound question.

Unnatural Growth

i like to think of this one as post-apocalyptic imagery.

Unrealized Progress

i drove past this rusty piece of mechanical equipment sitting in an empty field en route to work for years, before i finally decided to get some pictures of it.



Sun Studio

this past weekend my lady and i took a tour of sun studios in memphis, tennessee. sun is the tiny, now-famous record label where many argue that rock 'n roll was born, and where music legends elvis, johnny cash, and jerry lee lewis (among others) all got their start. the original studio was just a hole-in-the-wall that only employed a couple of people, and yet some of the most exciting sounds of the last fifty years came out of that little corner building. one thing that struck me was how the current presentation of the studio reflected the music that came out of it so many years ago. it was unpolished, raw, and a bit haphazard in its presentation. in the actual studio, no evidence of renovation could be found. classic sun sides that must be worth absurd amounts of money simply hung framed and out in the open on the wall. pianos and guitars played by past studio musicians lined the floor around the edge of the room, left out to mingle with the touring masses. a taped X marked the spot where elvis stood during his sun recording sessions. the room was filled with the same raw soul and unassuming, unpretentious air of creativity found in the grooves of those early sun records. and i was just completely fascinated by it. that aura of stripped-bare expression out on the fringe of originality and creativity is extremely inspiring to me.

Sign Language (part 4)

This record store sign in Memphis fits nice and snugly in my Sign Language series.

And God Created Rock 'n Roll

this is the massive guitar that sits above the entrance to Sun Studio in Memphis. i love the disproportionate largeness of the guitar, the sky scene in the background, and the associated memories of my first visit there with the woman that is now my wife.

Grateful

the reality is that nothing i can say would be more profound or meaningful than "Thank you."

but to merely write those words would be woefully trite without sinking into them, dwelling on them, and truly living in them. i want to be bathed in a sea of thankfulness, washed over by waves that pour humility down my prideful throat to purify and sustain my insides. this is my prayer.

Nightwoods (part 3)

another image to add to the Nightwoods series and probably the most nightmarish yet...