Artist Interview: Kelli Campbell


Kelli Campbell
photographer

personal blog at http://thezinniapatch.blogspot.com/
portrait photography at http://kcphotosblog.blogspot.com/
flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/27065099@N05/
 


    Someone once encouraged me to live, looking to “behold the beauty of the Lord” in all things (Psalm 27:4 NAS). When I seek His beauty in my everyday, whether I am standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon or the whirlwind of laundry and toys in my living room, I have joy in my heart. I am more thankful. I let go of the frustration and exhaustion that daily come with mothering, as He cares for me and gives me peace (Num 6:24-26).

    I like John Piper’s statement that we “live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion, namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.” (Don’t Waste Your Life) The Bible says that “by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth” (Col 1:16), and that “the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Ps 19:1) God was the first sculptor, shaping the mountains and human form and the first musician, giving songs to birds and cricket legs. He created movement and rhythm in ocean waves and wind through trees while light and colors blend in the fleeting masterpiece that is each sunrise and sunset. He designed the first garden and Genesis says it was “pleasing to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9 NAS). It was functional, yes, but it was also intended to be beautiful! In all these things we see that God delights in His creation and knowing that we were created in His image (Gen. 1:26), is to know we were made to be creative! (Edith Schaeffer wrote a wonderful book about this called The Hidden Art of Homemaking.)

    Photography lets me capture and share the God-images I see around me. I see them in big brown eyes looking up, in families holding hands, in new life sprouting from branches and even, sometimes, in a pile of dirty dishes or a whirlwind of toys (abundance so easily taken for granted!) As I seek to behold the beauty of the Lord, He opens my eyes to it all around me, and often, in unexpected places. So I keep my camera close.

about my photography...

    I carried around a pink, plastic 110mm camera as a kid. I’m sure you had some version of the same? I still have a little album with its pictures -a family camping trip on the Frio River in Texas, a week at summer camp in Colorado and some odds and ends photos of school friends- most of them yellow and dark with subjects off-center and heads cut off. I love to take pictures with the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone and it strikes me as funny that in this age of photo shop and almost-too-perfect pictures, we have begun artistically adding the “bad” photo effects of generations past!

I first learned to use an SLR when I stumbled into a photojournalism class in high school. I learned to manipulate apertures and shutter speeds for multiple results on one subject. I rolled my own film in the scary pitch darkness of a high school darkroom (teachers with darkrooms must be either the bravest of souls or simply out of their minds!) I swished my prints in chemicals and marveled as the ghostly black and white images appeared. The whole process of creating a photo from start to finish fascinated me. I was hooked.

    Growing up, my dad had used an old Pentax SLR he bought in the 60s, often setting it up on a tripod for family portraits in the backyard. Around the time I left for college, I acquired that Pentax (or maybe just walked off with it...?) I used it as often as I could afford, given my college budget of less-than-nothing. The single factor that held me back for so many years was the cost of film and prints (prints that were terrible more often than not). As a student and later, a young military wife with a new Nikon N80 in my bag, my expensive hobby was never quite a budgeting priority. When my son was born in 2004, I made the switch to digital. We bought a 3.2 megapixel Sony cybershot and everything changed. The option to view pictures in camera or on my computer as well as delete without ever spending a cent rocked my world. I began taking photos by the thousands, literally. Even with such limited point-and-shoot capabilities, I learned a lot about composition and lighting. Friends began asking me to take their family photos and I became the go-to mom for pictures at play dates and the pumpkin patch. When people began to exclaim things like, “You take your pictures with that little thing?!” I knew it was time to move up. One April, while he was in Iraq, my husband wished me happy birthday by email and instructed me to order a camera. A Nikon D300 has been close by my side ever since and my hobby has become something of a way of life - a way for me to not forget the things that my eyes have seen so that they do not depart from my heart all the days of my life; so I can make them known to my children and grand children (Deuteronomy 4:9).



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