11/24/2007

Dilettante

I bought my first digital camera a week ago, with gift money from my birthday. Our regular film camera quit about six months or so ago, and we'd been making do with the $11 plastic one from Walgreens. (Some other time maybe I'll write about how long it took me to get a CD player; after all, I still have all those great LPs!)

Granite!I got the camera because of the trip I took to New Jersey to visit my mother. While there, I went every day to a local park. The fall foliage there was gorgeous, particularly along the route of a power line. I saw bluebirds, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, a cardinal, yellow-shafted flicker, woodpeckers, and more.

There was a little stream running across the clearing, which had the classic red-brown tannin-stained water of the Pine Barrens. Reflected in the water, the leaves and berries stood out against the blue sky and white cloud streaks. I stood so my shadow placed a band of darker contrast against the brilliance of the rest of the scene.

At that moment, I so wanted a capable camera. So, a few weeks later and thousands of miles later, I got one.

Quakerism resting on a bed of sameI spent a little time today snapping artsy photos of walls and granite surfaces around our home. To my surprise, a theme emerged, which I've put on Flickr. I suppose it's absurd to publish one's first attempt at theological art. So be it. Lord, forgive me, a sinner and a publican.

6 comments:

Robin M. said...

A publican? Is there something you're not telling me?

Thanks for getting us a camera, though. It feels like such a treat after all this time without one.

MartinK said...

I saw your feed in Flickr and thought to myself 1., Chris is taking pictures?! and 2., is there a post explaining this on his blog? Yes and yes apparently. Great! I can't imagine being without a digital camera anymore. I took maybe a dozen photos between ages 9 (endless B&W shots of my childhood cat) and the purchase of digital camera a few months before DS4 Theo's birth. It's amazing how little of my 20- and 30-something life is documented--at least outside of tortured diary entries.

I'm not sure I understand Braithwaite any better for the photos but it's a noble goal!

Chris M. said...

@Robin: No, I think not. So maybe I overstated my position.

@Martin: We've been using film cameras all this time. When H. was about two, there was a fire two buildings down from us. We had to evacuate our four-unit apartment building at 2 am. Once we got H. bundled up, I grabbed the bag of baby photos to take with us. We spent a couple hours in the community room of the affordable housing building down the street, then got to go back home, schlepping the bag. I suppose if we have digital photos, we'll want to grab the laptop? Oh, and the two boys themselves, of course.

Allison said...

There is a cool chapter in Ken Wilber's book The Spectrum of Consciousness that says most people understand idolatry as having statues, pictures, etc as idols, but that there is another aspect to idolatry, which is imagination. That even when people just think of an image, for example, Jesus or God, isntead of experiencing the Light (I don't remember Wilber's word) directly, it is a form of idolatry. Therefore, picture taking isn't any worse than praying to an image of Jesus. But then again, I don't believe in sin so you probably shouldn't listen to me!

Then Peter said to him, "You have been explaining every topic to us; tell us one other thing. What is the sin of the world?"
The Savior replied, "There is no such thing as sin; rather you yourselves are what produces sin when you act in accordance with the nature of adultery, which is called 'sin.'
~ The Gospel of Mary

Chris M. said...

Allison - Interesting references to Wilber and the Gospel of Mary. I happen to agree with Karen Armstrong, though, in her book A History of God, in which she calls the imagination "the religious faculty."

Thanks for your other comments on my blog and other blogs, as well as your own tender-hearted blog posts, by the way.

Allison said...

I've been thinking about what you said about imagination as the "religious faculty" and on the bus this morning finally figured out what to make of it.

I don't think sacraments and rituals are inherently bad (but they are in danger of either distracting or losing significance and allow people to go through the motions of religion) and I don't think imagination is bad at all. I think Wilber's point was that only one thing can really create unity with the greater power and be experiential and that is stillness. Quakers do that, so that's cool.