The Unmade Bed

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I am reading Christine Valters Paintner’s latest book, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice and am marking up the book with stars, underlines, and circled words as I begin to shift my understanding of photography. In the introduction she writes: “Photography as a spiritual practice combines the active art of image-receiving with the contemplative nature and open-heartedness of prayer.” (p. 3)

In chapter 1, Christine suggests we take 50 photos of one thing. “Choose an object from your everyday life. It could be anything that you engage with daily but that often falls under your radar of real attention …become curious about this object and see if you can make fifty images of it.”

I chose our unmade bed (perhaps a cheeky choice). I took 50 photos of it and I became curious of how the light and shadows might be seen on the sheets and quilt. I was surprised by my emotional responses to the images as I uploaded them later to my laptop. Here is a sampling:

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I saw our bed as a place of life, safety, comfort, intimacy, and love. This is the place where I feel safest, secure in Kevin’s love and fidelity.  The unmade-ness of the bed reveals our life together.

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This is the second quilt I made, in the late 1990s. I fell in love with colors in both the printed fabric and the batik fabrics when I first saw them together in the local quilt store in Goshen. I had enormous fun wandering amongst the fabrics, pulling bolts from their snuggled companions, and place them with the other fabrics, seeing if they will mix well together.  I was so excited to play with these fabrics and I had great fun piecing this quilt together.

 

IMG_0458I see how the colors are beginning to fade by use and sunlight. Although the colors have lost their vibrancy I still love them.  And I still love the sunflowers—one of my favorite flowers.

 

IMG_0463I was unaware of how worn the quilt is getting from daily use as I see the fraying of the binding. The fraying is a sign of love to me. Love for the quilt, love in the bed.

 

IMG_0466I didn’t intend to photograph my shoes beside the bed but I am delighted to see them. A sign of life and life beyond the bed.

 

IMG_0475Lastly, Kevin’s shirt discarded onto the bed late in the day after he had worked hard in the backyard. Another sign of life.

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Christine will be writing a guest post for this blog later this week and I will be giving away one copy of her book.  Be sure to check back for Christine’s wisdom and a chance to receive her latest book!

8 thoughts on “The Unmade Bed

  1. Loved reading this and experiencing my own responses to the lovely, LOVE-ly photos of the quilt. Excited to learn more about this concept. As one who finds I want to photograph what moves me spiritually, it is intriguing to know that it might be approached as a spiritual practice. LOVE!

  2. What a great way to explore your life and your heart! Viewing the images and reading your words I experienced my own strong feelings about my bed! I think my sister would love this book!

  3. An interesting thought: photography as a spiritual discipline. I do think that photography and the use of photographs in programs is my art expression. I don’t do needle work, hand work, drawing, music, or other artistic things, but photographs to convey my thoughts, and my feelings, is something that really is meaningful to me. It’s exciting to find someone / a book that speaks to this.

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