Seeing & Looking
The sun cast shadows from the lattice of roof beams. They danced across the West wall inside the abandoned Bahamas church. The shadows vanished as high clouds floated overhead, and then returned again. Between the arched doorway and the windows, the dancing shadows were lively. At times, it seemed the wall itself was still, and my thoughts were dancing.
Photographing inside this old Anglican church, I wanted to portray its textures and forms. Later, I learned more of its history. When I met him in Old Bight, Reverend Father Eric A. Miller told me there were 11 Anglican churches on Cat Island, five of which had fallen into disuse from population and economic changes. The Parish Church of Saint Savior in New Bight, pictured here, was one of these five. Watching rays of light and shadows move across Saint Savior's concrete wall, I slowed down to steady my mind and enjoy the warm Cat Island sun. It was January 21st, 2018.
Vivid green hues emerged from outside the windows. Their shutters were broken, perhaps blasted by one of the hurricanes that blasted Cat Island in years past. Through the broken shutters, vines were growing in. Eventually, I thought, natures tendrils will cover these aging church walls. There were two ancient, timeless Gods at work here: Nature and Faith.
We worship two Gods of photography as well: Speed and Sharpness. The God of Speed is worshiped in camera ads and in photo club chats. The God of Sharpness demands our obedience. These two false Gods dominate popular photography.
If we worship these Gods blindly without a healthy skepticism, we demolish creativity. Sharpness and Speed are only passing clouds. I believe they do not embody the nature, or the true faith of photography. Change and growth are truths in photography. Photograph is a language, and language changes over time.
Like vines, new ideas grow in through the windows of our mind. Creative seeing begins when we are open to new growth, and question outdated ideas. Like abandoning a building that no longer serves us, we can let go of the false gods of speed and sharpness, that we worship today. They are dogma, not truth.
"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." ~ Anais Nin
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages
Leave a Reply.