Christine Valters Paintner, the self-proclaimed abbess of the Abbey of The Arts, is the author of Eyes Of The Heart: Photography As A Christian Contemplative Practice, a book that calls the reader back repeatedly for meditation and reflection.
Paintner invites the reader to slow down and see with the “eyes of the heart”, an expression used by St. Paul in the letter to the Ephesians, and suggests “receiving” photos rather than “taking” pictures in order to be more present to the subject.
Chapters in the book are organized around terms used in photography: light and shadow, contrast, framing, shapes, patterns. The author cleverly integrates these technical ideas with the spiritual journey of contemplation. Each chapter concludes with a meditation, an exercise in receiving pictures and a photo exploration.
“Receiving” photos allows one to explore the deeper side of our inner journey, to relate the photo to the spiritual realm and not to leave it as just another pretty picture. That’s the special contribution of this book: to challenge one to go beyond picture-taking to a deeper insight.
The author introduces Visio Divina as an alternate to Lectio Divina, the idea of reflecting on your photos instead of using only the scriptures to connect with the Sacred.
Eyes of The Heart proposes a way of seeing which frees one from the merely technical aspects of focal length and shutter speed to begin contemplation about the deeper aspects of one’s spiritual journey.
View these images while reflecting on light, shadow, composition, framing, color and contrast in your inner life.