Sunday, December 30, 2007


There has been a project rolling around in my head for 3-4 years now. I finally decided it was time to give it a shot. (no pun intended) I had a friend in the photo program at BYU that also worked with me at a place called Coleman Studios where we reproduced paintings. We worked on a lot of corny art that gave us many opportunities to mock and scorn. Included in this assault was some religious art being created for the Latter-Day Saints community. While in Florida I was a little disgusted by how commercial Christianity had become. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, breath mints, jewelry (nothing says I believe in God like a jewel encrusted cross on a large chain), you name it and somebody had marketed it.

Now that I was back in my beloved west I was chagrined to realize we were no better just behind the curve. God was becoming big business. You did not need quality you just needed content for the masses to bite. Me and my friend, Joey Moon, decided to have a little fun with it and planned out and started creating our own images. Some were going to be original creations and others were going to be appropriated images modified to get people thinking about content in Christian images more. Here are two attempts.

We had about twenty images planned out and in the works when I decided that I didn’t really like what I was doing. I felt I was only mocking the problem without offering a viable alternative, so I quit making the images. I have since wondered if I could use photography as a legitimate tool to invoke faith or increase knowledge about life’s purpose.

Numerous problems have arisen to hinder me. First, my beliefs differ from the majority of the worlds in one degree or another and I don’t want to force my beliefs on others. Second, I don’t like how paintings have literally shown a scene that was considered so sacred only a few people were privy to its occurrence. Third, I think a strength of photography is the innate believability that people attribute to the medium but which now becomes a weakness in light of the problem previously mentioned. Fourth, I don’t want to make pretty pictures of locations since I don’t believe in worshiping a spot but what transpired there, so the exact spot is trivial. Fifth, this subject matter and approach is completely out of my comfort zone.

I began to mull over the idea of trying to create a vision, almost a dream of what transpired to invoke the viewers desire to want to see the rest, a desire that can only be satisfied by their own efforts and pursuits. I envisioned a scene with very selective focus that would only provide an echo or whisper of what the story fully entails. I envisioned focusing not on the decisive moment or the trophy shot that is so often created, but on an accessory aspect of the story. Instead I wanted to focus more on why the event happened or how it relates to us or even what we can learn from it rather than focusing on the notion that it did happen.

I spent a month in Israel, Egypt, & Jordan this last summer with the purpose of trying to create some. (I know I said location wasn't essential but I couldn't help but rationalize such a cool trip.) They almost all require a considerable amount of photoshop and many need additional elements photographed and put in. As I complete new ones I will post them. Here are the first few attempts with more hopefully coming shortly.

The Garden Tomb
The Garden of Gethsemane
The Widow's Mite


nobodyfedme said...

Travis this is the one where I thought the fingernails looked too clean. I don't mean to be negative though, I really like the image and the series that it is in. :)

nobodyfedme said...

oops I thought that was going to post to a specific picture. I was referring to the Widow's Mite.

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