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Archive 2012 · Question for Christian Photographers
  
 
johnmueller
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p.1 #1 · Question for Christian Photographers


I have a question for my fellow believers, who also happen to be photographers. I primarily photograph weddings here in SoCal, and of the 35 or so weddings I do per year, probably 3 or 4 of them the bride asks me to photograph her boudoir session. I always insist upon them having a friend there when we shoot, getting the Okay from the fiance, and it always ends up being a great time. My fiance supports me photographing them since she knows it's part of the business. Recently I was confronted by a more mature Christian (non photographer) saying that this was absolutely wrong, citing James 1 and a few other places saying we should flee from temptation. But for me, photographing these isn't tempting. And temptation itself is not a sin. Whether I'm shooting a bride in lingerie, a family shoot, a car, a sunset... it's all the same to me. In fact, giving photos like this to her husband is only reinforcing their marriage, which should please God.

Sin, no sin or ?



Feb 20, 2012 at 07:17 AM
neilvan
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p.1 #2 · Question for Christian Photographers


"Getting the Okay from the fiance"?

WTF - Is this 1812 or 2012?



Feb 20, 2012 at 08:43 AM
sorpa
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p.1 #3 · Question for Christian Photographers


Who is `` James 1 `` ?


Feb 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM
unclechuck
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p.1 #4 · Question for Christian Photographers


Stand your ground.

My late brother Stuart was a big fan of Kenneth Copeland. Me less so. One day Stu came in quoting Copeland saying he asked God why the church was in such division and disarray and was told it was because of mans determination to correct each other.

You are seeking counsel --- and I'm sure this isn't the only place: that's genuine openness. And you are following wise protocols, most importantly having another person in the room.

When you sense your own doubt about your actions is the time to back away.

Charles








Feb 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
douter
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p.1 #5 · Question for Christian Photographers


John:
Further on in James, the writer mentions the progression to sin and death. The first being that man is tempted as a result of his own desires which lead to sin and sin in maturity leads to death. If making these photographs does not lead you to choose these over the pleasures of God, then I would say that the photos are not sinful of themselves. The problem if you go even deeper, is that we are expected to not be the cause of others' sinning also. You have a good deep question here, which I truly believe only you and your Creator can truly answer and it may not be the same answer for each instance.
Douglas



Feb 20, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Allynb
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p.1 #6 · Question for Christian Photographers


I believe that if it is a conscious religious matter, you, yourself should make the decision to shoot that scene based on your strong beliefs in your lifestyle. No one can really answer this question for you. If you want to please the client and do this shoot, I would get another associate to shoot these particular scenes for you.


Feb 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM
DanBrown
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p.1 #7 · Question for Christian Photographers


Temptation provides opportunity for spiritual conquest and growth. It is not a disgrace to be tempted. If there are no battles, there can be no victories through strong decision.

James 1:24. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.



Feb 20, 2012 at 02:34 PM
borderlight
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p.1 #8 · Question for Christian Photographers


Oh, for God's sake. It seems that the "more mature Christian" is using his personal opinion based loosely on a biblical reference. It is a crafty misinterpretation of James to which he applies his spin to a situation that isn't his call in the first place. He's being judgmental... something that God doesn't like, and there are a multitude of passages in the Bible covering that.

We are "tempted" throughout life, not just with underwear photography of women. I guess the equivalent 2000 years ago was Roman & Greek sculpture and art, some without clothes (oh my), and we all know how civilization wagged it's collective finger at that.

There will always be people who will try to misdirect your good intentions. God knows what's in your heart.

Never let someone else define you.



Feb 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Mickey
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p.1 #9 · Question for Christian Photographers


Clearly their IS someone else that MUST define you and that person is Jesus. We live in a world that says "do what feels good" but the scripture clearly teaches that modesty is a virtue. What kind of testimony are you giving in helping a woman be disobedient? How many Christian women have ask you take these kinds of photos? The fact that you have someone else present and ask the fiance permission should tell you that you're doing something that you are not comfortable doing. Do the photographs you take of these new brides honor HIM?
Lastly, this is absolutely the wrong place to be asking this question. It has nothing to do with photography. It has to do with being obedient to the scripture and for that you should be asking your pastor or a brother or sister in Christ whose opinion you respect.



Feb 20, 2012 at 03:40 PM
johnmueller
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p.1 #10 · Question for Christian Photographers


Thanks everyone. I really do appreciate your candid opinions. I have tried this same question in Christian forums, and of course the overwhelming answer was this was absolutely wrong. But to them I also asked... does that mean that any man can not see a disrobed woman in any circumstance? Male doctors can not work on female patients? Females can not work at daycare and change a young boy? Men can't work at tanning salons? These might seem silly examples but why would these professions be exempt from the same ridicule?

Mickey - how would this be seen as assisting a woman be disobedient? The photos are only for her husband to see. God wants man & woman to be intimate with each other. So you're saying these photos would be sinful even if a woman photographer would be taking them?

Thank you again, and my daily bible verse emailed to me was a blessing in disguise, hitting home on this topic:

1 Corinthians 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.



Feb 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM
 

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unclechuck
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p.1 #11 · Question for Christian Photographers


" borderlight wrote

There will always be people who will try to misdirect your good intentions. God knows what's in your heart.

Never let someone else define you."

Profound and powerful observation.





Feb 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Monito
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p.1 #12 · Question for Christian Photographers


johnmueller wrote:
Recently I was confronted by a more mature Christian (non photographer) saying that this was absolutely wrong, citing James 1 and a few other places saying we should flee from temptation.


More mature, or merely older?

That man is the one tempting you, tempting you to stop thinking for yourself and to fall prey to doctrinaire interpretation by Calvinists and Puritans.

It's easy to be authoritarian and strict and put on an act of being a rigid upright moralist, especially when it comes to "advising" other people, i.e. sticking his nose into your business. However, perhaps he is completely without sin and is thus free to throw stones at the 'sinners'.

There are too many busybodies wanting to regulate and interfere with who loves who and how and when.

I think your heart is in the right place when you speak of the love between the couple. Increase the amount of love in the world and you'll be doing good work.



Feb 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Taoguy
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p.1 #13 · Question for Christian Photographers


Today the world seems to have become less clear on what is right or wrong based on one's Christian beliefs. I could ask ten people to define Christian and I'd get ten different answers.

When a situation arises like what you have described the best manner for me to decide my actions is simple. Life is complicated enough for myself so I try to simplify.

My decision process is just to replace the observer, co-worker, partner, or whomever with Jesus. If he were there with me what would I do? What I would do then is what I should do now and always. In reality he is always there, even though I need to remind myself of this from time to time.

Gerard



Feb 26, 2012 at 03:52 AM
jbear2000
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p.1 #14 · Question for Christian Photographers


This is an answer - in a roundabout way. I am not opening a new debate on the merits of the subject of my post - I'm just using it to illustrate the point.

How to determine right and wrong - the easy way.

First you have to recognize there is such a thing as right and wrong. There is really no room for relativity. People who run to "shades of gray" arguments are looking for justification for their actions and not looking for truth. Seek the truth.

Illustration...
My cousin (not a Christian - but searching for answers) came to me one day and told me he and his wife were pregnant. He said they could not afford another child, their marriage was already rocky and he was starting a new business and just didn't have the time. All good reasons for a lot of things and a lot of decisions that are hard but actually doable.
This one is not so easy. They understood that fact that the fetus was fully human, but not being "Christian" they had no moral reason to not abort it - for the sheer convenience of it.

After some time they came to the conclusion that showed a great deal of wisdom. They had spent a lot of time and effort rationalizing the abortion of their child when it struck them that if they had to work so hard to justify the act, that the act was wrong at the core. They have a beautiful little girl today whose brother and sister would surely miss if she weren't there.

When you are looking for excuses to do something that you inherently know is wrong or bad - or if you are uncomfortable about it, that should tell you your moral compass is tilting in the wrong direction.

Now to the boudoir shoot. The scripture tells us to avoid the appearance of evil. So what is evil?, We know lust is evil, as is extramarital sexual relationships. Jesus said if you desire your neighbor's wife, it is the same as having her. A sin.

You say it doesn't bother you - you can handle it - you're not subject to lusting after these women. I know where you're coming from, i think that way too. But I'm lying to myself. Men are wired to look. Men - all men - have a weakness for lust. Some women - but not nearly as much as men.

If a woman is wearing little to no clothing, and acting alluring for the camera, its only a matter of time before the photographer begins to notice. You may not act on it - but it will affect you. You will treat your wife or girlfriend a little differently. You will never forget what you saw. Your memory will replay like a video tape the rest of your life. Anyone who will tell you it doesn't is either lying, dead or spiritually empty.

Then there is the whole side of it that you are contributing to the "industry". Call it porn, soft porn or playful sex for visual experience - and claim that it will only be shared between the wife and her husband - you have got to know the likelihood of being that discrete is next to impossible. You have no control over who will eventually see those images after you are gone. Worst case scenario, if there is a divorce, you can bet the opposing attorney is going to want to use it - or at least see it. If he uses it, the jury or judge will see it, once its a part of a trial, its public record and available to the public to see it.

You - as a "Christian" are responsible for the effects your work has on people. For that matter, any photographer or videographer is responsible for the effects their work product has on people. Hollywood says we will show you anything we want - you are responsible for your own actions. But Hollywood isn't out for your benefit - Hollywood is out for your dollar.

Final word - don't get caught up in the rationalizations that allow you to do that which you already know is wrong or dishonoring to the God who loves you and saved you from your sin. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and all things are lawful - but not all things are profitable.

Avoid that which is not spiritually profitable and ask yourself if you are really honoring God by what you allow yourself to do.

You're welcome to PM me if you wish - I hope you find resolution to your dilemma.
God bless you for asking.



Feb 26, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Taoguy
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p.1 #15 · Question for Christian Photographers


Well written Mr jbear2000. Well done.

Gerard



Feb 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM
borderlight
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p.1 #16 · Question for Christian Photographers


That kind of analogy reminds me of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7udQSHWpL88

or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-zG5U0v3gU&feature=relmfu




Feb 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
vilimo
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p.1 #17 · Question for Christian Photographers


^^^
Funny ad



Feb 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #18 · Question for Christian Photographers


There is a story related in a book about the desert fathers put together by Thomas Merton in which Saint Anthony is walking with a group of students when they come upon a lovely woman standing at the edge of a swiftly moving stream. Without hesitation Anthony picks her up and carries her across. He puts her down and the group of men continue on their way. A short while later one of the students asks how Anthony could do such a thing. His response was "I put her down on the bank of the stream and you're still carrying her."

Frankly, Christianity lost its appeal for me a long time ago simply because the self-righteousness of so many adherents to the faith was so off-putting. The only question is what is in your heart as you do this work. If it fills you with lust to do boudoir scenes you should perhaps stop doing them, or at the very least obtain counseling, whether spiritual or psychological. If all you experience is joy in the moment you share with this woman about to be married, taking photos she and her future husband will cherish, it is a lovely thing. You really don't need to accept anyone else's judgment of what is in your heart. And I believe that without any reference to scripture.



Feb 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Monito
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p.1 #19 · Question for Christian Photographers


CGrindahl wrote:
There is a story related in a book about the desert fathers put together by Thomas Merton in which Saint Anthony is walking with a group of students when they come upon a lovely woman standing at the edge of a swiftly moving stream. Without hesitation Anthony picks her up and carries her across. He puts her down and the group of men continue on their way. A short while later one of the students asks how Anthony could do such a thing. His response was "I put her down on the bank of the stream and you're still
...Show more

+1 Very apropos. There are similar stories in the zen tradition.

CGrindahl wrote:
Frankly, Christianity lost its appeal for me a long time ago simply because the self-righteousness of so many adherents to the faith was so off-putting. The only question is what is in your heart as you do this work. If it fills you with lust to do boudoir scenes you should perhaps stop doing them, or at the very least obtain counseling, whether spiritual or psychological. If all you experience is joy in the moment you share with this woman about to be married, taking photos she and her future husband will cherish, it is a lovely thing. You
...Show more

+1 It's a shame that organized religion of all stripes has a tendency to get in the way of true compassion and enlightenment and spirituality.

jbear2000 wrote:
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and all things are lawful - but not all things are profitable.


That kind of self-serving license is wicked and smug and not especially true to the virtues of Christ.



Feb 26, 2012 at 09:52 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #20 · Question for Christian Photographers


Thomas Merton also wrote a book about Zen... Zen and the Birds of Appetite. At the time of his death he was in Thailand for a meeting with other monastics from the region. Doubtless, when it comes to valuing life and finding compassion, most spiritual traditions share common values. It is generally the advocates for one religious tradition or another that feel a need to stake out their prescription for righteousness. Were that not the case we would have experienced far fewer wars through human history. Sadly, it is the case...

OP seems on safe ground. I doubt he would be interested in the Eightfold Path, but that has some pretty clear guidance to offer as well...

http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html





Feb 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM
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