Photographs aim at doing the same by providing history in a glance, a glimpse, summarizing the light from “shadow-tzel/צל ” to “image, (rising out of shadow to shine-tzelem/צלם “. This gives a great responsibility to photographers and those who make use of what is bright and visible.
Here is a very nice and intriguing, catching painting by Gerald van Honthurst on the Presentation of the Lord Jesus born in Bethlehem. Anat Lowy-Gur is a Jewish Israeli photographer. We never met, but she is very talentuous in taking pictures, real “photo-graph”. The Greek roots of the word explain that “something i.e. the picture has been ‘written by light'”.
It is strong and meaningful. It makes also sense that a photographer – Israeli and Jewish – “focuses” on such a painting. Photos are also shots and true, they “kill and fix up an instant. Pictures are also “depicted”, i.e. written or drawn down in different possible ways, especially at the present. We use and abuse our society with “writing “via, through, by means of” the light, what is bright. It is thus quite parallel to the “ideograms” (it refers to the same “writing via sight, visibility).
It makes sense that Asia has so powerfully developed technically and connection-oriented the “dialogue, visual speech through image, just as icons, but in a too often secular way. The Russian tradition has included the photographs as true “icons”, in particular for remembering the dead.
Anat shows the importance of the light on the baby. She makes no religious statement. But the painting called her to say that light is used in a very special way. I dare say that we are facing light all the time. Here in this painting, the Light comes from the Most High, the One Who created heaven and earth and light. When Prophet Isaiah says that the nation of Israel is “a light for the Nations/ עם לאור גוים (Is. 42:6, 49:6, 51:4 = Luke 2:32 = Acts 13:47//26:23), he points out the element that comes from outside of us and is present at the initial of the Scripture. The Gospel apply this “light of the world” to Jesus himself as the Only Begotten Son and to the people of the believers as stated in the sermon on the mountain (Matthew 5:14, John 8:12//9:15), the individuals and the House of Israel then Jesus and the faithful and each human being are “light of and for the world”, in the inhabited areas of our planet but much wider deep into the universe.
Light can also be flickering, just be like a flash, a glimpse, like a crossing idea. Light is also so tenuous, a small , tiny and short sign. Light is “not a burden, quick, qgile, swift”. It cannot be seized as such. There is another moment that is exceptional in the Gospel: when Jesus comes with his disciples and on the mountain Jesus appeared with Moses and Prophet Elijah and he was transfigurated / והשתנה בעיניהם (John 17:2) = 2 ܐܰܝܟ݁ܰܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܝܰܗ݈ܒ݂ܬ݁ ܠܶܗ ܫܽܘܠܛܳܢܳܐ ܥܰܠ ܟ݁ܽܠ ܒ݁ܣܰܪ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܠ ܡܳܐ ܕ݁ܝܰܗ݈ܒ݂ܬ݁ ܠܶܗ ܢܶܬ݁ܶܠ ܠܶܗ ܚܰܝܶܐ ܕ݁ܰܠܥܳܠܰܡ܂ 2 איכנא דיהבת לה שולטנא על כל בסר דכל מא דיהבת לה נתל לה חיא דלעלם܂ 2 καθως εδωκας αυτω εξουσιαν πασης σαρκος ινα παν ο δεδωκας αυτω δωση αυτοις ζωην αιωνιον (Aramaic and Greek). Hebrew crosses darkness to enlighten and shine; for a few seconds, like in a flash, the Gospel recounts how Jesus, Moses and Elijah were together, like a flash, very short that embodies and assembles past, present and future.
Anat Lowy-Gur had written the following about her appreciating the painting:
Adoration of the shepherds – amazing painting by Gerard van Honthorst, it is a known theme that I just love – the baby serves as the light source shining on all admiring family members around. presented at Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, and I was lucky to see it 🙂
The interesting part of the thing is that she also put on the picture in a women photographers’ group that is typically Jewish and Israeli and wrote the following in her comments: