Every once in awhile, when adding a new product to our website, something will catch my attention. This week I was adding a new book called, Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice: Eyes of the Heart by Christine Valters Paintner. This author has a passion for photography and in her late 20′s began to “experience photography consciously as a contemplative practice.” She continues to talk about the commitment that she made as a Benedictine oblate to deepen her own path and saw photography as a way to “slow down and gaze deeply, noticing things I missed in my rushed life.”
This connection of living a more contemplative life and photography seems like a natural! Others may have made this connection before, but the way this book is written is beautiful. You cannot help yourself as you want to savor each word, phrase and thought. This book cannot be rushed and even the author recommends to read no more than one chapter in a week.
Christine talks early on in the book about the practice of lectio. “Instead of praying with scripture, we bring our gaze to the world around us as sacred text. This practice focuses on on receiving images, rather than taking or making images.” Photography as a form of contemplation is exactly that receiving the images that are already there instead of taking or making preconceived images.
“Both art and spirituality are truly about tending to the moments of life, listening deeply, holding space, encountering the sacred and touching eternity. For a few seconds I touch time beyond time, and in that spacious presence my hearts grows wider, my imagination frees, my breath catches and I am held in awe and wonder. These are the moments that help to make life full of meaning.” (page 4)
I don’t know about you, but this resonates with who I am. The combination of art and spirituality makes sense to me. How can you have one without the other? Are there any of you that would like to read this book with me? We could use this blog as a way of discussing various aspects of the book. Let me know what you think.
To purchase this book or for more information click here.
To read more about Christine Valters Paintner follow her blog at Abbey of the Arts.