Getting the right exposure
By Tohru Inoue | Kenya in East Africa
Photo by Adrian Butcher by Adrian Butcher.
Adrian is a photographer with SIM Stories East Africa. Photography is a craft that he’s honed and one that he offers back in service to God. He’s spent years adjusting the settings on his camera in order to capture the light. For Adrian, capturing a story is about literally capturing the light.
Yes, Adrian is proficient with a camera, but above all, that camera allows him to sit with people and listen. That’s when he sees the story. And he wants you to see what he sees. He wants you to see the handiwork of God reflected in people.
Adrian says, “I want people to slow down just a little, to care, to feel encouraged, to help, to feel human when seeing the story.”
He loves the quiet moments of waiting. Not the wait for the perfect shot, but for the story to surface. Because there are some stories that seem hidden, that take time and trust to step out into the light. A story needs to be voiced. But quiet voices can’t be heard when there is a myriad of loud voices competing for attention. But you can see what God is doing among some of the muted voices if you pay attention. It’s a beautiful thing to invite to the table the voices who didn’t think they deserved a spot.
That’s what Adrian’s looking for: the buried voices that need to come to the surface. And he’s capturing them in light.
Giving light to the stories can change lives. Connecting with other human beings can be enough to melt the emotional calluses we’ve built up. It can break down “us/them” barriers and help us move to empathy. It can move us to experience the exhilaration of joy and love. To feel the depths of sorrow. In short, it helps us to practice all the emotions God has placed in us. And those emotions may even spur those of us sitting idly in the pews to be more intentional about bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). A story can do all that. That’s Adrian’s hope: that these stories will change the lives of those whose voice he amplifies and change the listener’s heart too.
A colleague forwarded me an image taken from his phone. The scene was poorly lit and the people in it were hardly visible. There didn’t seem to be much of a story to tell there. But as a good photographer, Adrian would probably tell you that there wasn’t anything hidden in that picture. It was just underexposed. The shutter on the camera just wasn’t open long enough for the light to come in.
And that’s what he’s doing: getting the settings in his camera just right so that the story gets the right exposure. Then, you too will be able to see what he’s spent all this time looking for.
• For SIM Stories East Africa whose mission is to tell stories that matter to change lives for Christ’s glory.
• For more storytellers, photographers, videographers and writers to want to capture what God is doing in hidden corners of the world.
Are you a photographer with a burning desire to tell gospel stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you could play a part in mission.