Saturday, September 6, 2014

'Framing Faith' by Matt Knisely

Framing Faith: From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World
Like a photographer or storyteller, Jesus exhibited time and again how easy it is to capture moments of profound importance just by "noticing," "stopping," and "responding" to his surroundings.

In a world moving way too fast, "Framing Faith" is a book for people seeking to focus their lives, to find a deeper knowledge of God, and a more authentic Christian faith. In this modern age, many of us fill every "spare" moment we have rather than taking an intermission to see the true works of God and realize that he is present in every moment.

Matt Knisely communicates biblical truths in a fresh way, allowing you to really hear them, as if for the first time. He illustrates a new way to "see" God and to help us live in the moment through the exploration of various photography concepts, including:

Darkness versus Light

His probing questions and unexpected presentation lead readers into a place of honest self-examination, causing them to ask, "Am I listening to God?" "Framing Faith" provokes its readers toward reflection; it reveals God is in everything we see and do.


I've been interested in writing and reviewing novels for a very long time, so was curious to explore a different angle of story telling, from a photographer's point of view, especially since there are a couple of keen photographers in my family. It was as thought provoking as I'd expected to find it. Matt Knisely is an expert in his field, and uses analogies such as focus, developing photos, setting up subjects, colour, exposure, letting in enough light, removing intentional fuzziness, and examining each scene for clutter, as analogies for how we live life. 

As he processes things entirely differently from me, this book was eye-opening. Knisely informs us that he grew up with a learning difficulty which made reading difficult. He was always a visual learner, a doodler who relied heavily on pictures. He's also clearly a 'people' person who considers what he aptly calls WOO (winning others over) one of his personal strengths. As I'm an introvert who loves pondering over word pictures and shies away from trying to talk anybody into anything, I was surprised to see how much we're really on the same page in our own ways. Knisely makes a good point that God loves it when we process our common faith in ways that reflect our individual personalities and strengths.

One thing which irritated me a bit while reading this book is the confusion of formatting. most sentences and several proper names don't start with capital letters, while capitals appear in the middle of random words all thrOUgh the teXt, without any apParEnt reason. I'm not sure whether his intention was to be arty and different for whatever reason. We're told that written words never held much impact for him, so maybe that's why, but for people more like me, it's jarring and slows down the reading experience a lot.  

I was impressed by so many story-photograph analogies that I probably have space to mention just a few. He points out that some photos make statements while others ask questions. The groupings photographers set up in family or work photos shows that we're meant to exist in relationships, and meaning springs from being part of other people's stories. The best photographers resist the temptation to look for only showy or 'grand' moments, and find great significance in quiet, less showy moments which many people miss. Great photos provide instant stories, have the power to whiz us back several years in an instant, provide voices for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless. Perhaps one of the biggest advantage in telling stories through photos is that the language is universal. Another thing which (sadly) came through for me is how much depth there is to the subject which a 'point and click' girl like me would have a hard time getting familiar with.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with a review copy. 

3.5 stars

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