August Artist of the Month

  • By admin
  • 14 August, 2013
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This months artist is:

Devan Johnson


When I was sixteen, I embarked on my first mission trip to Nicaragua. I fell in love with many things during that trip. One was photography. Another was God. Both of these loves would last, and both would love me back.

The camera became a permanent fixture to my hand. My favorite thing was when the soft gleam of natural light would hit something just right and make it seem as if it were glowing from the inside. Those were the little occurrences, the subtle, generally unnoticed moments when I could see God’s hand on Earth. Capturing these little gifts of the universe became my obsession. I wanted to show other people these wonderful phenomena that God created. It was so clear to me that there was no way that all those cells and photons just landed in so specific a form by happenstance.

My freshman year of college, I received a letter from a friend and mentor, nature photographer Irwin Gooen. Writing about his “nature work,” he added, “The Hebrew word for ‘work,’ ‘avodah,’ is the same word used for ‘spiritual worship’, and I use it in that sense.” That encapsulated so succinctly the way I had always viewed photography – that everything I do on Earth, all my work, and all my photography is for God’s glory.

It’s been argued that cameras keep people distanced from the world, that experiences are somehow less full when witnessed through the lenses of cameras. But how could cameras be agents of separation when they facilitate a relationship with the world that is just as tangible as sticking your hand in paint or water? The camera does not keep me out of the real world, it allows me to cut it open and dive into its depths, to remember more clearly, to show more vividly, and to see more fully. These frozen moments in time are my articulation, my praise song, my work, my worship. They are my avodah.

In May 2012, I graduated from Ithaca College, where I studied photojournalism and documentary production. Since my first trip to Nicaragua I have traveled to South Africa, Belize, Yosemite, Costa Rica, and Namibia on my quest to capture as much of God’s art as I can, and to show it for what it is – imaginatively designed, complexly beautiful, and divinely conceived.

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