Sunday, December 11, 2016

Digital Photography and the Resurrection

My photographer friend Camden Bennett took some pictures of my wife and me a few weeks ago. Then he uploaded them to his website and gave us access to them via a password. Pretty nifty.

So I downloaded the pictures to my laptop, and decided to make some prints at everyone’s fine arts center, Costco. They went from my computer to the Costco photo center website, where I selected the size prints I wanted, and placed my order. We picked up the prints about 2 hours later.

A great photographer gets not just the colors right, not just the contours of face and body. Somehow the real person shines through. The slight stubbornness of the jaw, a twinkle of mischief in the eyes, a laugh about to bust through at the corner of the lips. And what I like about Cam’s photos is that they show not just the real person, but the best of the real person.

I have prints Cam did of my grandchildren, my sons and daughters-in-law. They’re not photoshopped idealized versions of my family.  I think they capture each one as we really are. But we look our best.

These prints reminded me of one of the great doctrines of our faith - the resurrection. Here’s what I mean.

It used to be that the original photographic images were captured on film, or on special plates. Destroy the film (or the plates) and only the prints remain. But with the advent of digital photography, the original images go to “the cloud” - a network of servers all over the world.

Our family photos are still there. In 30 years, if someone wanted to download pictures of Dionne and me from a breezy autumn afternoon in Pine Valley, California, they could do it. There we would be, just as we were in November of 2016.

When we die in Christ, our real self leaves our old body behind. In time the physical husk wastes away, and no trace of us is left. But our real self, the humor and joy, the gifts and grit of us, the unique stamp of genetics and wisdom and sanctification that molds us, all of that goes to the Cloud, where Christ is.

The Bible teaches not just the immortality of the soul but the resurrection of the body. One day God will download the real us, the digital blueprint of our humanity, and we’ll be our real and best selves again. Even more real and even better than the warm sunshine of a fall afternoon among the turning leaves. We’ll be who we’ve been created to be, soul and body together forever.

You could see Camden Bennett’s landscape photography at Dream West Photography, and contact him if you ever need family portraits.