Lancia E. Smith, our official photographer and close friend, just posted a new slideshow presentation of photos from our 2011 C.S. Lewis Summer Institute.
Here’s how she described it on her blog:
The C.S. Lewis Foundation brought us another superlative event this summer which took place in Oxford and Cambridge. Extraordinary speakers from multiple disciplines presented plenary sessions each morning preceded by worship services, then afternoon workshops covering a range of subjects from poetry to creative writing to business management. Evenings led into beautiful meals, world-class music or drama presentations and culminated in happy fellowship at Bag End Cafe. An experience not to be forgotten!
This slide show is the product of much labour. It represents something much more important to me than simply a recap of an event I had the privilege to photograph this summer. Much of its significance is based on things that cannot be seen. It is the product of love, commitments and costs, sacrifices made – mine and many others – a vision and skill that infinitely exceed my own. It is an offering of worship to my High King of Old, the Ancient of Days and the One Who makes all things new. It is a craftsman’s effort to portray an event, certainly. But deeper still it is my effort to make visible what is often overlooked, or when encountered, not readily grasped: the invisible message being carried by the Spirit of the present and living God.
The underlying message in the midst of ordinary exchanges is something that always draws me. That single thread is what lead me to be a writer and it is why I photograph. Photography, in many respects, is an ephemeral and intangible craft. Pictures can indeed say more than a thousand words, but apart from words, most images in themselves are not fully anchored in meaning. Written words give context, depth, and grounding to what we see in an image. Images give something else, however, something that eludes a multitude of words. I would suggest that images, like poetry, give a visible form to spirit. They speak to the places in us that apprehend truth, beauty, need, grace, longing, pain, passion, hope and courage … but where we have no mechanism to voice that recognition. Images are a part of the essential vocabulary spoken by God to His creation in the great mystery of communication. Moved by incomprehensible Love, to Love, and to communicate that Love, He creates. We are each products of His vision and that Holy, Mysterious, Immeasurable Love. We are His beloved – jewels of infinite value to Him, though perhaps we do not know why.
When I photograph I seek with all that I am to portray the invisible undercurrent of meaning in the given moment, to reveal that profound beauty resident in human beings. In between “the lines” of physical and observable reality the Spirit is moving always. Much like a movie soundtrack that gives life to an entirely different dimension in a film, the soundless message the Holy Spirit’s presence creates an underscoring soundtrack to each event of our lives as well. It is the message beneath the visible that I want to capture and share.
Lancia E. Smith
Lancia E. Smith brings a rare integration of literature, arts, and spiritual maturity to her readers and audiences. She has been photographing professionally for more than 20 years; taught English and Art as an integrated subject for 5 years; and writes on topics related to C.S. Lewis, spiritual development and arts intersecting culture.
Widely read and passionately involved in teaching at all levels of communication, she is continuing her studies in English Literature at the University of Colorado in Boulder with a specific focus on the works of C.S. Lewis. Lancia hosts the website “Cultivating the Good, the True and the Beautiful” at www.lanciaesmith.com.