This image is intended as a tribute to Sergio Larrain, one of my favourite photographers. I particularly like Larrain’s image Passage Bavestrello which he took in Chile in 1952 and reconstructed it in a simplified fashion using techniques (such as the use of photographs of textured surfaces) I have employed in my other digital compositions. To see the image I based this work on and a discussion on the merits of Larrain’s work in general please see my blog post ‘A State of Grace’.

The journey to where we are

The more I read, and the more I try to lead a better life, the more convinced I become that our journey to God (or however you might want to describe it) is not one of going to something, but rather discovering what is already there. It’s as though what we are seeking is already present in every blade of grass, in the wind, in a drop of water, in the warmth of our soul.

A state of grace - the photography of Sergio Larrain

It seems that some photographers have the capacity to enter a special state and produce works of wonder. They can somehow see what we struggle to, and,seemingly without effort, produce work of ineffable beauty. Sergio Larrain (1931-2012) was one of those photographers, in my view one of the greatest that ever lived. One his most oft repeated quotes is also one of the most revealing and profound: A good picture is born from a state of grace.

The Little Musk Deer

I suspect that for as long as there have been people there have been stories told to capture their imagination, echo their ideas and dreams and help them understand their fears. Stories often help to suggest and frame that which we cannot touch, but which we nonetheless feel is true. I have a lot of sympathy with Philip Pullman when he writes:

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.

Love all that has been created

The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky exhorted us to:

Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.

I believe completely in this, and find the fundamental truth it contains echoed in many different places (for example poetry), and in other religious traditions as well as Christianity. It is of course, like all truth, easier to say and admire than to live by, but something of its essence is, at least in my perception, present in the greatest art, including photographs.