There are a number of photographers who publicly proclaim their faith. Some of them are inspired by that faith to start movements in the industry that generate a lot of attention and followers. Sometimes the attention is controversial. Whenever you mix religion and business you stand to a chance to upset folks. But I wanted to personally highlight three photographers (who happen to be Christian) that have started movements that as a fellow believer, I feel are uplifting and positive representatives of the faith.
- Jim Davis-Hicks and Thirst Relief: Jim felt moved by God to start a non-profit that would help bring clean drinking water to people who desperately need it. He went to the photography community and started a movement of photographers (and filmmakers) who auction themselves off to raise money. The other thing I love about what Jim is doing is that he started a FOR profit company called Action Runner, largely so that he could fund his work in ThirstRelief. (On a side note, Action Runner is a great product for easily and effectively applying Photoshop actions in batches).
- Jeremy Cowart and Help-Portrait: What Jeremy has done with Help-Portrait is nothing short of a miracle. He started a movement of photographers to take pictures of people in their local communities who otherwise couldn’t afford photos, or who have been hit by devastation. The 1-day Help-Portrait events are held in December and since starting in 2009, over 160,000 portraits have been taken by over 15,000 photographers around the world in 56 countries.
- Benjamin Edwards: Ben is practically a movement unto himself. A photographer out of the Pacific Northwest, Ben was the final presenter at this year’s Photographers Ignite, and he talked about inspiration. One of the causes he’s fighting for and spreading the word about is surgeries for women and young girls in the Congo whose bodies have been brutally ravaged by rape. It’s horrific. Ben had previously co-founded Emote360, a video production company that specializes in raising awareness of issues facing the least and the lowest. Now he’s branching out, and with the help of friends in high places, is engaging the greater photography community.
What I Like About Their Approach
There are three reasons why I think these three are exemplary examples of the Christian faith in action.
- Helping those God Has Called Us to Help: I spent last August and September memorizing over 100 verses from Proverbs. It’s amazing how many of them are related to God’s love and care for the poor and hungry.
- Bringing Believers and Non-Believers Together: the work these guys are doing is bridging the gap between believers and non-believers. Christian and non-Christian alike are coming together in droves all over the world for common causes.
- It’s About the People, Not the Person: lastly, the movements these guys are doing is all about the people they’re serving, and not about them. These guys all have a humility about them which I find admirable. I must confess that I am an unabashed self-marketer , so these guys convict and humble me. (Speaking of humility, I personally love how Ben’s personal promo video proudly shows off his weathered 1997 Forerunner and his quaint little house that he describes as “1,100 square feet of to-dos”.)
I am inspired and humbled by their work, devotion and care for their common man.
Note: knowing how cynical this industry can be sometimes, I feel compelled to say, this blog post is not meant to suggest only Christians can do this kind of work. But, this is my personal blog, and as a Christian I wanted to “shine the light” on three fellow believers I admire and respect. If you feel so moved by your personal convictions to start a movement, I applaud you too!