I’ve been reading “Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp, which I can highly recommend. One of the challenges she lays down at the start of the book is to ask yourself what you are trying to say when taking a photograph. Does the picture have meaning? What emotions does it evoke in the viewer? What do they take away with them from the picture? And so on. For someone like me who tends to snap away without giving the pictures much thought until afterwards, this has been an exciting challenge, but one that I find difficult to achieve. I see something that I like and I take a picture of it, but it is good to think about what I am trying to say even if it is mostly (for me at least) a subliminal process.
Ok, lets try it out on this picture. It’s a stream in the Great Langdale Valley (in Cumbria), taken a couple of weeks ago. Now if I’m honest, when I look, I just see water rushing though rock (I used a slow shutter speed of 1/6 sec to emphasise the movement of the water). To go beyond that description takes a little more effort on my part; I see hard solid granite, that is permanent, changing little over thousands of years. I remember it being warm from the sun and like heavy-duty sandpaper to the touch. That rock isn’t going anywhere. In contrast the water is anything but solid, anything but permanent, it is very cold, having come from further up the mountain. It is constantly changing, in a hurry and always different in shape and depth and speed.
The rock and the water could hardly be more different. As I force myself to think further, I think of a similarlity between God and people. God is the rock, permanent, eternal, solid, strong, unchanging. We on the other hand are fluid and fragile, passing through time in the blinking of an eye. The rock guides the flow of the water, (hmm maybe that is like God and us). One way the water differes from us and God though is that it (albeit very gradually) shapes and smoothes the rock. We cannot change God in any way, but then we don’t need to, it is rather us who need His help to change… OK, that’ll do for now :-)