In the Preface to his book, ‘Pursuing the Light’, the author Ralph Sidway presents his insightful “theology of photography” as follows:
I have come to believe that to “draw with light” [the literal meaning of the word, “photography”] is to take part in the mystery of the cosmos itself. After all, light was created on the first day (Genesis 1:3).
Thus the artist who interprets and shares the beauty of creation, who uses light to share Light, is in some humble way partnering with the Master Artist. He is co-working with the Word of God through Whom light and all things came to be. In sharing his images with the viewer—the Other—the photographer quietly, gently, contributes to an essential aspect of human life, that of relationship, community, or more theologically, communion.
So the creation and sharing of beautiful images speaks to the soul of the viewer, hopefully instilling and nurturing beauty, peace, harmony, balance. And in doing so, the photographer/artist is glorifying God.
Is this not what the Psalmist ecstatically cries out when considering the starry sky?
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” — Psalm 19:1-4
Somehow, in stillness, through silence, photography can speak words of beauty, light, truth and love. And yet, in considering this mystery of light and beauty, and why fine images stir our souls with longing, we may suggest another possibility:
Perhaps it is not not merely we who pursue light.
Perhaps it is the Light which pursues us.