The pictures above are three of my favorites.
I started developing a real interest in photography–no pun intended with “developing”–around 1966 or 1967, when my church had a friend of my parents for a revival preacher. He was in and out of our home several times, and he became interested in my Zenith Transoceanic shortwave radio, something that had given me hours of pleasure over the years, but which I was no longer using at all then.
And he had a camera he no longer had a need for. An Argus C-3, if I recall correctly. Of course, that was a long time before the advent of digital photography. As a college student, I didn’t have much money for film and processing, so I focused (no pun intended here, either) on black-and-white photography. I didn’t go crazy taking pictures, though. I still couldn’t afford to.
But then–that summer or the next–I was working at a summer job in North Carolina at a Baptist conference center that produced a yearbook of and for summer staff. I don’t recall how the editor of the yearbook came to see some of my photographs, but I was asked to be the yearbook photographer. That meant taking as many candid pictures as I could–not the individual staff pictures–at no cost to me personally.
In fact, they not only borrowed a light meter and a tripod for me, they allowed me to keep all of the prints they couldn’t use. How could things get better than that?
Although I still glance through that yearbook occasionally and take pride in a number of my pictures, I can’t help feeling embarrassed over duds they had to include because no better pictures were available.
Skip ahead a number of years to my first mission trip–Australia. By then I was lugging around a good-sized video camera that used VHS tapes–and not a film camera. It took several more mission trips for me to realize that–although being able to show certain activities “live” was desirable–it was a poor substitute in other ways for good photographs that people could peruse casusally.
After several years of doing both videos and still photos, I gave up the video recording. I moved slowly through a progression of increasingly nice film cameras until I finally made the move to digital.
I was hooked. I could finally take as many pictures as I wanted to, delete the duds, and print only the ones I needed prints of. I could even doctor them up electronically. How wonderful!
For a number of years I adorned my living room walls with 24×30 inch posters of some of my favorite pictures. (I’ve since downsized to ledger-sized prints in order to include more.) And I’ve posted many of them on my website as well. Check HERE for a page of them. (The pictures OF me are NOT selfies, however.)
Sometimes I’ve felt a little funny about having so much money invested in camera equipment. Not that a professional photographer would look at my gear with more than mild curiosity. But it’s turned out that God had a purpose in providing me with the interest, the talent, and the equipment .
I may not have an official title like “Church Photographer,” but I’ve become one of several people they always ask to take pictures of special events. Events like the yearly Family Fishing Day. The Shoebox Party. Special choir events. And numerous other occasions. Being useful that way not only makes me feel good, but encourages me to keep sharpening (okay, pun intentional this time) my skills.
I’m thrilled that God has chosen to turn my hobby into a ministry.
What about you? Do you have a hobby that has turned into a ministry to other people? How about sharing a comment?
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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.
My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.