Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bill Fortney, Pope Francis, dynamite fishing with a game warden, photography and life

Photographic guru and author Bill Fortney (http://www,, recently retired as Nikon professional markets rep, makes no apologies for his strong allegiance to Christian principles and faith.  Bill doesn’t beat you over the head with it but rather he is simply an expert in his own story.  Plus, as a former teacher, Bill is a darn good story teller.

 It’s easy to say, as I often do, that as photographers we are simply recording in our own way that which God gave us.  But that’s not the only correlation between photography, faith and life.

Portland Women's Forum State Park, Oregon
 So many times photographers will walk away from what they view as a less than perfect shot or get so caught up on one lofty track than the simple beauty at your feet is overlooked.  While we should aim for the most perfect images possible is the quest for perfection – sometimes inane quibbling over such things as whether using a filter defiles an image – causing us to overlook the gifts God gave us?  Do we sometimes look too hard for perfection only to walk away empty-handed?

Pope Francis has become one of the world’s most influential people not by loftiness but by simple, humble truths.  He didn’t toss out centuries of Catholic teaching but rather put the mission of the church as being a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints – a place gloriously tattered and bruised from being in the streets with God’s people. 

Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Does the quest for perfection – again, not necessarily an improper goal – obstruct the ability to find beauty even in the imperfect?  Does the fear of being less than perfect keep us from realizing all of our potential?

A game warden was invited by some friends to go fishing.  Having a slow day one of them decided it was a good idea to get the fish to come up out of the deep so he lit a stick of dynamite.  The stunned warden exclaimed, “You can’t do that!!!”  One of his buddies handed the dynamite stick to the warden and said, “Are you going to talk or are you going to fish?”

So, does everything have to be perfect?  Do you want to be in a stuffy museum or doing God’s work in your community?  Are you going to talk or are you going to fish?

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

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