People are important. We have inherent value. I believe we are all loved. We were all made with purpose. Destiny. I buy that. I believe that each one of us is "fearfully and wonderfully made." When I photograph someone, I desire to convey to them their own beauty. I see it there even when they do not. I am every time stricken with appreciation for each individual's great worth. I am in that moment so grateful that they are alive.
In short, portrait photography is, for me, a deep exercise in loving others.
Never in my life did I think I could experience these things through any other form of photography. That is, not until I went to the Farish Street Historic District in Jackson, MS. There, the houses spoke loudly to me. But then again, never had I met a group of people so devoted to an entire city that they loved even the abandoned homes in that place. Never, until I met my new friends from WeWillGo.
|The Eve of Restoration (Joel 2:25)|
|In the Shadow (Psalm 91:1)|
|The Lovely, Hidden Face (Song of Solomon 2:14)|
|She Has Loved Much (Luke 7:47)|
|Love is a Seed (Mark 4:31,32)|
|The Fallen Shelter (Amos 9:11)|
|The Old Gate (Nehemiah 3:6-10)|
So now I see these abandoned homes. And because of the deep, sacrificial love of my new faraway friends, I see something loved. And because they are loved, they are beautiful.
It reminds me of only the most lowly and forgotten people on the planet. Those many have deemed hopeless cases. Those judged too far gone. Perhaps, reading this, your mind has wandered to the people of a faraway country. Or perhaps you know someone befitting of that description not so far away from you. Perhaps, actually, that describes you.
But just as these houses are not too far gone to restore, neither are you too far.
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save." -Isaiah 59:1
If you know very little about Jackson, MS, you may not know that many of its people can sometimes look like these houses. Imagine for a moment the hopelessness that could set in. But imagine watching your neighbours be loved back to life, one at a time. Imagine watching once abandoned homes restored to a former glory. Imagine daring to hope again. What could that do to one community? To a city? And beyond those borders? What could that do?
If these houses speak to you, or if you believe in the rebuilding of a city -- one person at a time and one house at a time -- please consider a donation of any amount which will go towards the restoration of a house in Jackson, MS.