this photo was taken by angelika. she gave me permission to use it. i am part of a photography group in ealing. we had a recent challenge whereby we were paired up with someone in the group to take photos of each other. the results are here. we added the photographer and the person being photographed's favourite to the page though many more were taken. this was my selection (i'll add some of my photos of angelika in another post).
this photograph was a surprise. in terms of thinking about how to photograph one another, we spoke about who we are and i discussed the importance of faith in christ to me, but how i was keen to express that in a way that related to culture rather than withdrew from it or created a parallel subculture. anyway part of the result of that conversation was angelika wanting to photograph me in a church space which i felt very ambivalent about. this shot was simply me leaning against the wall in the baptistery. when i sat there neither i nor angelika had noticed that i was directly under the stained glass window of christ's baptism.
this is what moved me: it's as though christ's baptism could be flowing right down onto my head. i also didn't notice the caption which you'll need to look at a larger size photo to see - this is my beloved son in whom i am well pleased, the words heard from heaven as jesus was baptised. i sense those words are a gift to me too through this photograph - to believe i am god's child through christ and as such loved. it's a harder thing to say that god is pleased with me. but i do believe that at the heart of who god is is love and grace and one of the hardest things in life for pretty much everyone is to believe and know that we are loved. so thanks angelika! perhaps this is in its own way not so dissimilar from what's at the heart of tracy emin's sculpture at liverpool cathedral?
the original photo was much duller - i have edited it to light up the face. somehow i think this lifts it and gives it hopefully in a good way a religious almost more iconic look and feel though i don't know if that's in danger of making it a bit more clichéd?!
it felt slightly strange and vulnerable to talk about this photo with the photo group and the sense of how i was moved by it because it captures something close to the heart of who i am and my sense of calling and vocation to follow in the way of christ.