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Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice Paperback – April 22, 2013
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"Christine Valters Paintner explores the eye as a window to the heart. Using scripture and observations from thinkers in all faiths she offers a spirituality of photography as writing with light. This monk, photographer-artist, and writer combines the art of image receiving with visio divina, taking us through a detailed program for the feeling, reflecting, and completion of our heart's vision." --Br. John J. O' Hara, S.A. , Graymoor Spiritual Life Center
"Eyes of the Heart is more than a celebration of God's presence in the world. It is itself an experience of receiving the Divine directly within. Paintner's insights and exercises lead the reader to a personal, intimate encounter with divinity. In the process, she also illuminates the way to self-understanding and creative serenity." --Anthony F. Chiffolo, Author of 100 Names of Mary
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the key facets of Slow Church is the idea that creation operates as a gift economy: i.e., that all life is created and sustained by God. Our call as humans is to live gratefully within the broader economy of creation. Part of a life of gratitude is the living of a receptive life, in which we are wondrously attentive to the abundant gifts of God that surround us at any given moment.
The challenge to living such a life, however, is that we all too often are formed into the pattern of industrial Western culture that is moving ever faster, and in which attentiveness is rapidly becoming a lost art, as Maggie Jackson has chronicled in her recent and superb book Distracted. However, humanity is not lost, we are still capable of reversing this trend and re-training our attention. There are many arts, crafts and even hobbies (e.g., birdwatching, as Phil Kenneson has pointedly argued in a recent talk on Slow Church) that can train us to be more attentive. It is in this context, that I found Christine Valters Paintner's new book, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice. I was familiar with Paintner's work, and had even reviewed her recent book on Lectio Divina.
I was therefore not surprised that Eyes of the Heart is a profoundly helpful resource in helping us to recover the lost art of attention, and will certainly be of interest to readers who are interested in photography (or those who might eventually become so; although with the smartphone explosion over the last few years, practically everyone has easy access to a decent camera, and is a photographer at some level).Read more ›
The emphasis in the book is on 'receiving' images. That is, not being too self critical, not trying to think too much about what you are doing, but simply allowing a scene to speak to you. This is based loosely on the ancient medieval practice of lectio divina where you allow yourself to 'receive' special insight into certain passages of scripture. The author attempts to extend this practice to photography, which is a novel approach and may be beneficial to those without much skill in the craft.
Still, I was encouraged to trust my instincts even more than I already do. Many of my favorite images are those that have called to me, begging me to be photographed. Often these images defy the normal rules of composition and yet when examined later prove to have a wisdom of their own. On that way, at least, this book was a help.
Christine, besides being an author, is a Benedictine Oblate, writer, artist, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and teacher. She's also the on-line abbess for Abbey of the Arts ([...] an amazing site that you should know about, if you don't already. I'm a regular visitor to the site and participant in her "Invitation to Photography" spirituality exercises. She's going to guest blog here soon!
As a photographer, as soon as I heard about Eyes of the Heart I knew I wanted to read it. I was not disappointed. Christine is a wise writer and grand guide into the idea of combining contemplation and photography. I appreciate this as I've been doing what I call "praying with my camera" for years. In some ways, Christine's concept is similar to Sybil MacBeth's concept of "Praying in Color" -- an active, visual, and meditative form of intercessory prayer.
We find that the title comes from Ephesians 1:18 when Christine writes, "Photography as a spiritual practice combines the active art of image-receiving with the contemplative nature and open-heartedness of prayer. It cultivates what I call sacred seeing or seeing with `the eyes of the heart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Christine's book is a treasure trove. Let me highlight a few key points that particularly struck me as I read her wonderful book.
I am a centering prayer practitioner. Read more
I love this book! Not only has it given me great insight into taking meaningful photographs, these important lessons are showing up in my daily life, as well. Well done! Read morePublished 9 months ago by S. Miles
Excellent! Highly recommended for anyone looking to add some depth and purpose to their photography. Read morePublished 12 months ago by James K. Adams
Can't wait to read it again and write many note cards from it on my future walks with my camera. Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see more and more of you.Published 13 months ago by S Phinisey
I liked this book and plan to read it more than once. It's a good book to read slowly and savor.Published 15 months ago by CJB
I LOVED what Paintner has done with this! She brings together a wonderful vision of what photography can do to make you slow down, tune in, and really see. Read morePublished 15 months ago by alan216
The connection I have been drifting around but did not make until I read this book. While the photograph might the recorder of the sensor or film resulting in the image, it is the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michael J. Cunningham