thomas brauer photography

Doors

Added on by thomas brauer.

Doors are great. They keep things in and let things out. They protect
us, and they guard us. Doors are ever vigilant, and they never tire.
They do not judge any who pass their threshold in peace.

Cameras are like doors. They too never judge, and they stand
vigilant, ever ready to record whatever scene they are directed to.
But more, they can be a door to the imagination and heart. They can
lead us on long journeys, and open to us hidden paths. A camera is
utterly neutral, but its work can create or devastate. It all depends
on what is on the other side of the door.

I don't want to die.

Added on by thomas brauer.

So, the gospel reading is from Mark, chapter 8, where Jesus says that those who would save their life, will lose it.  Well, who wants that?  I mean really.  If I want to save my life, then I want to save it.  I want to preserve the way I do things, and I want to keep what I've got for myself and my family.  I want to make sure that others know how smart I am, or how awesome my chocolate-chip cookies are.  What I don't want is to have to give that stuff up.  I want my life and to live it too.

Jesus, on the other hand, well, he seems to be saying that the only way I can truly live, is if I'm willing to let all that stuff go.  The way of life, the patterns of thinking, the behaviours, and yes, even the cookies.  If I do that, if I let my life go for His sake, then my life will be saved.  But for what?  I mean won't I already have lost everything I understand my life to be about?  Won't I have already lost everything I've worked so hard to make for myself?  For what will my life be saved... for Christ's sake!

...oh.

I guess that is what my life will be saved for.

But then what...?

____________________________________________

In nature photography, the photographer may wander for hours looking for something that special something.  I have found myself doing this.  I am looking for what I think will make the best image, the right image.  I hold tight to this idea, and for as long as I do, I seem never to find that image.  

However, when I have the courage to let that idea go, to work not so much for my own grand vision, but simply to experience the beauty as it is, where it is, and to make images of THAT, then I find I can come up with some pretty remarkable stuff, and often work that is not my usual style, or choice of subject matter (like the above).  

As I see it, in photography, the image maker must lose himself, and give up his own vision.  If I cling to my vision rigidly and never let it go, then I seem never to get the shot.  But if I'm willing to let the vision go, and to immerse myself into what is already there, waiting for me, calling me beyond my own vision, then I can get the shot.  It may not be a brilliant work of art (like the above) but it may well speak to me in ways far more profound than I could have hoped.

In life, we have to have the humility to die.  To let ourselves go, and allow Christ to work with us independent of our expectations, plans and priorities.  In the end, if all we want for our lives is simply what we want for our lives, then what kind of life will we have?  Predictable, safe, stayed...useless?  What if we lived as though our own lives weren't nearly so important as the lives of those around us?  What if we lived as though the life Christ led/leads was/is the life that matters most?  

What if we die to ourselves...for Christ's sake.

My new photo-devotional

Added on by thomas brauer.


32 pages




Well, today the first print copies of my new photo-devotional came in, and I'm thrilled! I may have to update a few things, but the print quality is excellent, and re-reading my own stuff doesn't make me cringe, so that's got to be a good thing. Take a look at the previews, and let me know what you think.

The purpose of the book was to see if it was possible to develop an image based devotional that was not sentimental, nor clichéd.  I think I succeeded, but I will need plenty of feedback to know for certain.  So please, let me know if anyone reading this, also gets the book.

Cheers


Find out more on MagCloud

Post Christmas Post

Added on by thomas brauer.

Merry Post Christmas.
I was puttering about in Photoshop, the program I use for most of my paintings, and such, and a thought came to me.  Some time ago, back before the snow had flown, I had been wandering through the alleys in my neighbourhood looking for interesting things to photograph, and I came upon the springs of an abondoned mattress leaning up against a fence.  What interested me most, however, was the fact that among the steel coils of the springs were the coils of some weed or other, wrapping itself about its ferrous cousin.  The image below is my favourite of the series I took of this coily situation.

One of the reasons I like this image so much, is that it symbolizes for me the struggle of life.  The green plant insisting on existing, despite its inhospitable, and unlikely environment.  And this is no meek vegetable, but a plant of determination, wrapping its tendrils about the bars of its metalic prison as though to break them, or to use them as a launching point for its escape to happier climes.

This might not appear to be overly Christmas-y, as it is missing the requisite snow, star, wise person, shepherd or angel, but it does point is to the message of the season.  When we light the Christ Candle on Christmas Eve, we read the Great Gospel, that epic introduction to John chapter one, in which we learn that the infant Jesus was, is, and ever shall be the maker of all things, the judge of all people, and the light which can never be overcome.  And just as a candle flame in the centre of a darkened room can seem so tiny compared to the shadows which surround it, this plant seems dwarfed by its steel cage.  However, the springs of this long decayed mattress can do nothing to stop the plant's inexorable growth, and its stubborn life.   Darkness can not extinguish light, but is chased away by the smallest flame.  A day will come when these bedsprings will be lost in the leaves and tendrils of the plants that grow within it.

Christmas teaches us that regardless of how dark it might be in this long night of the world, there will always be a flame burning.  It is a flame which we can draw into ourselves, which we can own and share and give away to make new lights until finally the whole world is covered in tiny flames, and there are no shadows left.

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:5, NIV (the Greek for 'understood' can also be translated 'overcome'))

Merry Christmas.

News

Added on by thomas brauer.
Well, much seems to be happening all of a sudden.  Rather than posting individual stories about each event, here's everything at once.

First, I'm getting published.  JPG Magazine is publishing a self-interview article in their "On the Job" series that I wrote describing my life as a priest, and how I use photography in that life.  The article is called "Priestly Photography".  Please feel free to check it out, and also take a boo at some of my other images posted to that site, here.

Second, it appears that I will be hanging a show of up to 24 photographs at the Concordia University Library in December.  I will post updates on times and places when I know them.

And third, Margarett Marschall has written a very flattering article about my work for The Messenger, the newspaper for the Anglican dioceses of Athabasca and Edmonton.

I guess my fifteen minutes are coming.
Thanks to all for your support, and I look forward to hearing more from you soon.

Cheers,
Thomas

The Struggle.

Added on by thomas brauer.


We all struggle.  There are hard times and easy times, good and bad, but we all struggle.  It might be a struggle to maintain balance between work and leisure, or between family and friends, or between spirituality and practicality.  We might struggle within ouselves - with doubts fears, and challenges.  We might struggle with our health; mental or physical.  Whatever it may be, whenever it may occur, we struggle.

I'm struggling right now.  It doesn't really matter what it is that I'm struggling with, but I certainly am struggling.  Through this struggle, I find that I feel increasingly isolated, and alone.  I am tempted to feel as though there is no one to share this struggle with, no one to feel drawn into, and drawn out of myself.  So I turned to my painting.  The image above is an expression of that struggle for me - but as always, in the midst of struggle there is hope.

In the first chapter of John's gospel, the evangelist touches on the battle between light and dark.  Christ is that light, but, as John points out, that light is never overcome by the darkness.  (I've always found it interesting that the same Greek word translated as overcome, can also be translated "understand".)  While the light is never overcome, John does not suggest that there aren't times of greater or lesser darkness.  No, in fact, John's point in telling the story is to point out that in the midst of the darkest, bleakest times of greatest struggle in the human experience, and in the real and oppressed lives of his contemporary Christians, the light of Christ still shines, regardless of the dark.  The light of Christ cannot be overcome.

It is easy as I go through my struggle, or as many others go through theirs, to believe that there is no light coming in.  It is as though there are times when we'd rather close our eyes to the light that is there, and ignore its illuminating power.  However tempting this may be, it is not the path of the faithful.  Throughout the psalms we read of the anger, sadness, and despair of the psalmist crying out to God for safety, protection, forgiveness, or vengeance.  However, in every psalm, the light of hope and the praise of God breaks in, for ultimately the psalmist knows that our trust must be in Him, our maker, and our preserver.

In my painting above, I feel as though I've expressed, however falteringly, a little of that sense of hope and praise that is included in the psalms which speak of struggle and suffering.  On the one side, we have the heavy weight of darkness bearing down; a weight threatening to crush us.  On the opposite side the cold blue-gray of sadness like a mist waiting to wrap about us.  But between them, never truly challenged or threatened by either, lies the light.  The light that cannot be overcome.  In this light is our help in the midst of struggle.  It is there for us all.  It is there in all situations.  It calls to us to overcome our struggles not by plunging into despair, or giving up on ourselves, but by opening our eyes and focusing upon that light - sharp, crisp and clear - cutting through the mist of confusion, and the darkness of anger, hurt and frustration.

We all struggle.  We all come to times of hurt and pain.  This can never be avoided.  But it is at these times that the light is often most easily found - the light of Christ - for it stands in sharp contrast with the dark in every way, and it cuts through the mists of our confusion and hurt.  May God help us all to open our eyes, and look to Christ's insurmountable, incomprehensible, and indomitable light.


What Fiat Pixel is all about...

Added on by thomas brauer.

Well, hello there.

So, we're making a fresh start now, and seeing if I can't keep a more regular schedule of posting.

The purpose of Fiat Pixel is to discuss digital art and the Christian faith.  Now, I'm sure you're wondering what 'digital art' is.  Well, I define it as any form of creative expression that uses computers, or computerized machines as tools in the creative process.  This is a very broad definition, and it is intentionally so, as by this definition we will have a greater scope for discussion.


In these early days of Fiat Pixel's life, we will discuss primarily photography, digital painting, and the combination of the two, often referred to as photo illustration.  Why these three art forms?  Because they're the three that I paricipate in most myself, and the three of which I am most familiar.  However, assuming anybody other than myself actually reads this, with time, others of greater experience in other art forms will come along, and so our discussions will broaden.

Blessings on you all,
Thomas





Digital Photo



Photo Illustration




DigitalPainting