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July 30, 2017: Capturing the Soul
A young boy stepping on a stone, crossing a bubbling brook in the late afternoon Carolina sun. Perfect light. Click, click. Got it!Two old women on a front stoop chatting on the Lower East Side of New York City. Perfect hand gesture, nice light, aging gray background. Click, click, click. Yes! A beggar in the crowded streets of Varanasi, India, on the banks of the Ganges River. I give money, ask permission. He stares straight into the lens, piercing eyes. Click, click. Nailed it!

by Joe Howell

A young boy stepping on a stone, crossing a bubbling brook in the late afternoon Carolina sun. Perfect light. Click, click. Got it!

Two old women on a front stoop chatting on the Lower East Side of New York City. Perfect hand gesture, nice light, aging gray background. Click, click, click. Yes!

A beggar in the crowded streets of Varanasi, India, on the banks of the Ganges River. I give money, ask permission. He stares straight into the lens, piercing eyes. Click, click. Nailed it!

These photographs are three of about 130 that were on display this summer at the Katzen Art Center at American University as part of a retrospective exhibit of my photography. Most of the color photographs were taken on various trips to foreign, often exotic, places, where it is much easier to see the world again for the first time. My daughter captioned the exhibit “Capturing the Soul.” Many of the photographs are now displayed at All Souls, and thanks to Father Jadon will remain here for a few months. It’s an honor to share them with you.

Photography has been a passion of mine for more than 50 years. I have tried to capture images  which —for me anyway—reflect a deeper truth in our common humanity. This could mean a startling sunset, a mother and child, a father and son, a weathered face, old friends, lovers strolling in the park, a face showing sorrow or joy or anger, a street scene with energy and excitement. The magic of still photography is that, at the instant when the lens clicks at one 250th of a second, you have frozen in time something that in our hectic lives we would never really “see,” or if we did see, we would forget moments later. By “really seeing” we begin to understand. We gain access to a deeper meaning. Is this where the secular and the divine intersect? For me, in the rare times when the lens clicks at just the right moment, the answer is yes.   

Last Published: August 1, 2017 8:49 AM
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