Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

‘Spiritual Practices’ Art Exhibit Showcases Works of Four Jesuit Artists

Spiritual Practices: Meditations on Faith art showThe diverse works of four contemporary Jesuit artists are currently being showcased at an exhibit at the University of San Francisco’s Manresa Gallery. “Spiritual Practices: Meditations on Faith” is an exploration of the visual art practices of Jesuit Fathers Arturo Araujo, Thomas Lucas, Trung Pham and Josef Venker.

The exhibition features a range of mediums — including prints, stained glass, paintings and sculptures — that explore and reveal contemporary issues through art. According to Jesuit Father James Hanvey, the Lo Schiavo Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of San Francisco who specializes in Ignatian spirituality, “Whatever their professional training as artists, their ‘eyes’ and their ‘hands’ have come to see and touch with the senses of the [Spiritual] Exercises.

“Each one of the artists in this exhibition has his own unique voice but each, in his own way, illuminates some aspect of our lives and our souls,” writes Fr. Hanvey in an essay on the exhibit.

Fr. Araujo, a Colombian Jesuit, currently serves as an assistant professor of fine arts at the University of San Francisco. His works in the exhibit focus on the landscape of “Cienega Grande,” a network of salt-water lagoons on Colombia’s northern coast. The landscape became a battlefield when violence erupted and left 60 dead by the paramilitary in 2000. “The same landscape serves me as a mythical place to seek reconciliation,” Fr. Araujo writes.

Fr. Lucas, a professor of art and architecture at the University of San Francisco, says that during his 35-year career as a liturgical artist, designer, curator and Jesuit, his work has been shaped by the symbol, myth and ritual of the Catholic tradition.

He uses everything from ancient materials to modern techniques. “The pieces reach back to traditions of the gothic glassmaker, the byzantine iconographer and Latin American baroque craftsfolk, but also are touched by the contemporary realms of found objects, electricity and computer-aided design,” Fr. Lucas writes.

A professor of fine arts at Seattle University, Fr. Pham’s paintings explore the intimate relationship between mother and child. When his father was sent to a re-education camp after the Vietnam War, his grandmother and mother’s love became even more intense for Fr. Pham. “These two women not only loved me unselfishly but were also immeasurably strong, wonderfully intelligent and unbelievably hard working,” he recalls.

Fr. Venker, an assistant professor of fine arts at Seattle University, worked with found objects to find spiritual and religious meaning through ordinary and discarded things. “This search for God has become a key pursuit of the Jesuits to this day,” he explains.

Information about the exhibit, which runs through May 12, is available at the Manresa Gallery website. View art from the exhibit below.

 

Jesuit Photographer Featured in The New York Times

Jesuit Father Don DollJesuit Father Don Doll has been a photographer — his second calling — for 50 years. The New York Times Lens blog recently examined the connection between Fr. Doll’s first calling to the priesthood and his calling to photography.

Fr. Doll began taking photos while working on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota in 1962. He said that after taking photos for over two years, he became discouraged because he “still hadn’t taken a decent picture.”

He considered giving up photography and went for a walk in the South Dakota prairie to think about what his mission as a Jesuit should be. “I heard a loud voice saying: ‘Stay with photography. It’s the first thing you really loved doing. Stay with it. Don’t worry if it takes 10 years,’ ” he recalls.

Fr. Doll stuck with photography, and his work has been published in National Geographic magazine and three books. His newest publication is an autobiographical book “A Call to Vision: A Jesuit’s Perspective on the World.”

Fr. Doll photo: Grandmother Therchik with her grandchildren

Grandmother Therchik, a Yupik Eskimo, enjoyed a moment with her grandchildren. The bonds of kinship are powerful in Eskimo society. Courtesy Don Doll, SJ.

Fr. Doll has used photography to promote Native American culture. “I learned to respect another culture, because we were immersed in it,” Fr. Doll said. “And I really learned about the values that the Native Americans have of sharing and their sense of generosity with one another, and how they honor you.”

In 1974, Fr. Doll returned to the Rosebud Reservation as a documentary photographer. He said he often prayed before releasing the shutter. “I used to pray that I could really make photographs that portrayed how special they are and something of the empathy they had and that God has for them,” he explained.

During a 30-day retreat, Fr. Doll discovered a link between prayer and photography. “I said: ‘Oh my god! Prayer is just like photography, where you have to let go of what you want to happen or what you think’s going to happen. You have to let go of your preconceptions and I think that same thing applies to photographing. You have to let go of your suppositions of what the picture is or should be and just be present in the moment.’ ”

Read the full story about Fr. Doll on the New York Times website and watch the Creighton University video that celebrates the photography of Fr. Doll below.

Jesuit Photographer’s Work Aims to Give Voice to the Voiceless

For 50 years Jesuit Father Don Doll has seen the world through the lens of who he is and the life he’s lived.

Fr. Doll, a renowned photographer whose work was featured in National Geographic magazine in 1984 and 1990, has traveled the globe “to tell the stories of people who have no voice.” His ministry began on the plains of South Dakota in the early 1960s while working with the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation. He had joined the Jesuit order after graduating from high school in 1955.

“The first week I was there they said, ‘Would you like to learn photography?’

“I said, ‘Sounds like fun.’”

After two years of training and experience in photography, he questioned that choice.

“I went for a walk on the prairie (wondering) ‘What the heck am I going to do as a Jesuit?” the 75-year-old priest reminisced. “I’m not brilliant like some of these guys.”

Feeling he hadn’t taken “a single decent picture after two-and-a-half years,” he suddenly heard a voice inside him say: ‘Stay with the photography, it’s the first thing you love doing, don’t worry if it takes 10 years.’

“It did!” he added with a laugh.

“I see how the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the depths of our hearts and I trust that,” he said. “I don’t hear voices a lot (but) when I have a hunch, I really trust that’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to me. It’s true of every project I’ve taken on.”

Since 1969, Father Doll has worked at Creighton University in Omaha, where he is a professor of journalism. For the last 20 years, he has documented the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service in some 50 countries including India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Sudan and Rwanda. These assignments, he said, working with “the poorest of the poor” have been close to his heart.

“Jesuits have a mission: Faith doing justice,” he shared, quoting his personal artist statement. “I photograph to tell the stories of people who have no voice. Hopefully, I can help others understand and work to change unjust social structures.”

He often finds himself praying that he can look at people and photograph them “with something of the empathy and understanding that God has for them.”

“Often I’m asked if being a priest affects my photography,” he shared, reflecting on nearly 44 years in the priesthood. “My answer is always: ‘Yes, it has everything to do with it.’”

“For me, it’s hard to separate the creative process of ‘seeing’ from prayer. Both can be contemplative acts.”

To commemorate a half-century in photography, Fr. Doll is working on a book and considering an art exhibit to be on display at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. For more about Father Doll and to view his work, visit magis.creighton.edu. You can read more about him in this Denver Catholic Register, the newspaper of the Denver diocese, article.

Canadian Jesuits ready for Contact

Jesuits are taught to see God in all things. This makes Jesuit photography a little more intense than family snapshots.

This year four Canadian Jesuits will show their photographs as part of the 17th annual Contact festival. With more than 1,000 venues spread around Toronto and as many as 1.8 million sets of eyeballs taking in the work of an international lineup of photographers through the month of May, Contact is the largest photography event in the world.

The Jesuit show at Regis College on the campus of the University of Toronto is called “In All Things.” It runs May 10 to 26.

Second-year theologian Marc Aristotle de Asis loves the process of discovery inherent in photography. The Contact show will be the first time the 29-year-old Jesuit will see his photographs hung for a gallery crowd.

“I let myself be amazed by what the camera captures,” said de Asis of the fireworks photos he will show.

His photos will hang along with nature and abstract photography by Jesuit Fathers Gilles Mongeau and Teo Ugaban, and Jesuit Trevor Scott.

De Asis has been playing around with cameras since he was very young. Growing up in the Philippines, de Asis’s father had a darkroom. Though he claims to have been a haphazard photographer and printmaker in those days, he loved seeing what would come out of the trays of chemicals.

Photography wasn’t part of his spiritual life until his novice master, Fr. Philip Shano, urged him to channel some of his energy into photography. In the context of the initial two years of Jesuit life photography took on new dimensions.

“It’s all contemplation,” he said. “It’s a way to enter into the whole experience.”

To capture a moment requires the kind of attentiveness that is at the very heart of Ignatian spirituality, according to de Asis.

Find out more about the Contact photography exhibit and the works by the Jesuits which will be on display in this article from The Catholic Register.

Jesuit Father Don Doll Experiences as a Celebrated Photographer Featured in This Month’s Podcast

Jesuit Father Don Doll’s photographic works have been celebrated and awarded numerous times for their ability to capture and highlight the experiences of people across the globe. From remote villages in Sub-Saharan Africa to the dances of Native Americans in their traditional garb, Fr. Doll has spent decades capturing his subjects in their element since he was first introduced to photography when assigned to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota as a young Jesuit in the late 1960s.

He’s photographed Jesuits assisting Tsunami victims in India and Sri Lanka in 2005; refugees in Burundi, Rwanda and the Congo in 2007; and Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad along the Darfur border in 2008. Most recently, one of Doll’s photos was selected by 1001 Stories of Common Ground‘s Positive Change in Action competition showcasing pieces which highlight the positive changes in the Arab world.

Currently, Doll is a professor of photojournalism at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. where he holds the Charles and Mary Heider Endowed Jesuit Chair. Recently, he took time out from his busy schedule to speak with National Jesuit News by phone for our monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Doll below: