My journey into photography didn’t begin in the usual fashion. Back in 2004 I had a dramatic Faith experience that completely altered the path I was on, and like most convert/reverts I had a deep desire to learn more about Jesus Christ and this Faith that saved me…so I turned to the internet. For those of you that remember what the internet looked like in 2004, let alone the Catholic internet I don’t need to say another word. But for the benefit of those who may not have been exposed to the level of awfulness, I’ll elaborate. Close your eyes for a second and picture a Word document. Now, make the fonts all Times New Roman, too large, and in a variety of colors with a super low resolution, scanned image of a Saint Card…it’s actually a challenge to describe just how BAD Catholic websites looked back then….and yes, I’m sorry, a few still do today. I was HORRIFIED. How could a Church that was the premier patron of the Arts for a millennia allow this to be? So what began as a search for knowledge became an instantaneous vocational Call. Somebody needed to ‘fix it’. So in my post-conversion zeal, I got a copy of Dreamweaver, learned HTML and began coding. Then problem #2 surfaced; there were no good, usable photographs of the Catholic reality. So I bought a camera…
Never in a million years did I ever expect that in a few short years I would be photographing Popes, flying drones over Jesus Baptismal site in Jordan (pinch me), travelling all around the globe capturing images and stories of the absolute beauty of Faith lived out…and then becoming part of the team that produced one of the largest and most innovative Catholic sites (Aleteia.org) and becoming the Art Director? NEVER in a MILLION years…
What began as a knee jerk reaction to state of the Catholic internet rocketed into a full blown vocation, and that vocation is, simply put, the “Evangelization through Imagery”.
As you probably realize, I’m a passionate advocate for compelling and provocative imagery and its presentation. And you really do need both. An iconic image is nothing if it’s not displayed in such a way that its power cannot be harnessed. It’s like if you put a Ferrari F1 Engine on a skateboard.
Fast forward to now.
Evangelization through digital media is an art form. Every Editor wants the kind of numbers that rank with the New York Times or Vogue…but the issue with that is relevance. Most people do not seek out Catholic Media for its beauty, entertainment value or excitement.
So to respond to the challenge Catholic media producers of both print and digital need to pull out every proverbial stop to leverage every possible advantage to package and present the Message in a way that’s compelling, relevant and attractive. And, yep you guessed it; the image is the first impression, first line of engagement, so it better be amazing.
To rise above the noise, to penetrate, to engage, requires an unprecedented level of visual impact. This is why ALL Catholic Media, in my humble opinion, needs to make their imagery and presentation of that imagery at the very top of their priorities.
But here’s the good news, it’s more possible than ever. It just requires the will to do it.
How can I help? I work as a full time freelance photographer and creative director. Whether it’s consulting in building a solid presentation platform, educating about imaging for impact, sharing experience in capturing images of Faith or shooting a story or assignment, I’m at your service. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at (347) 982-6106 and we can discuss things!
Cheers and God Bless, Jeff