Illustration: DNA

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The pastor began with an illustration. DNA. What makes us who we are. He explained that some people are given natural abilities within their DNA that all of the technical training in the world merely inhibits. (His examples included two pianists--one highly trained and one who played amazing music with very little training--and Michael Jordan, famed for his last minute game-saving shots.)

He was preaching from Galatians 5.

Legalism, he said, happens when we are trying to earn our way into heaven, when we are trying to obtain God's approval, or when we are trying to obtain a higher status of holiness than we already have through Christ. We are not to be entangled again with a yoke of bondage, and we are not under the law (or compelled to hold others to the law). So, how do we stand fast in the freedom which we have through Christ?

"It's in my DNA."

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new."

As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, He grows us more evidently into the image of Christ Jesus. As believers, we are given a new identity in Jesus Christ. The reason we choose to do/choose not to do certain things is not because we have been given a checklist of rights and wrongs. It is because of who we are. It is our new DNA, placed in our hearts through rebirth into God's Kingdom.

Oddly enough, this sermon, so focused on our identity and freedom to live in Christ and walk in the Spirit clarified another seemingly-unrelated dilemma I've been working through: what do I do with my photography?

Photography to some photographers (and many clients) is merely an illusion. The idea that something may be created from nothing with a bit of work, some fancy equipment, and a lot of money. But all of the equipment in the world can't capture memories without something else: actual memories and an eye to watch for them, constantly moving, constantly seeing, constantly creating, sharing, and memorializing. And in most photography, it's really helpful if there is also a heart behind that eye.

Anyone can pick up a camera and even take a technically correct photo. Anyone can learn how to use equipment and lighting to manipulate something they see onto film and through an editing program. But not everyone can see what is there to capture.

I have no formal training and very little equipment. Because I do not charge enough money to cover equipment, my equipment is actually in need of replacement after two years of heavy use. What I offer my clients is not my expertise, but rather my eye, and my heart for them and their dreams.

As I have spent the last two months or so of trying to process about six weddings (several thousand pictures) while trying to decide the wisdom of continuing after my baby's born, I've come to several conclusions.

What I see is, in many ways, who I am, whether I capture it on camera or not. Photography is in my DNA. Eric Liddell said that when he ran, he "[felt] God's pleasure." In the movie Chariots of Fire many people were frustrated with Eric's all-out, head-back style of running. He didn't do things "by the book." He couldn't. But he ran. And he won. Running was a part of who he was. When I take pictures, I feel God's pleasure. I feel I am doing something I am created to do.

In my last two years as a wedding photographer, I have encountered many situations in which I have been given a checklist of what I am supposed to produce for my clients. But I can't produce something that isn't there. That checklist has bound me to something I cannot be, effectively removing the heart and the joy from what I see.

Photography, I think, is meant to be more than a dream for me. I've had many opportunities to pursue other dreams, but taking pictures is something I do even without the camera. God has given me the ability to see and capture beauty. I pursue it because somehow, it is a reflection of who I am in Him. After our baby is born, Pete and I are seriously considering expanding.

I don't know how this will all play out (or even where!), but I am discovering that as I shoot from who I am, where I am, I have little trouble seeing the beauty or capturing the memories for the people who trust me enough to ask me to take their pictures. For the first time in a couple of years, I want to carry my camera with me wherever I am.

It's in my DNA. I think it always has been.

(If you're interested in listening to the sermon I referenced, you can go to It is the sermon for June 3, Liberty in Christ by Mike Minter)


PaperYarnGirl said...

It shows, Kelly. I've not seen a whole lot of your work, but what I have seen has simply captured me. I can feel the moment happening... the love, the passion, the reckless abandon... the questioning or nervousness...

You've got a gift, truly, down into your bones.

Missi said...

RYC: Jade is 4.5 months now. She rolls over everywhere. She can't yet crawl (though she is trying) but I can't leave her alone in a room cause she can get herself anywhere by rolling. Its actually pretty funny to watch.

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