Monday, April 30, 2012

Christian Photography

Today I went to pick up a lens from the camera rental shop by Clarke Quay. Not being a professional, it's hard for me to justify spending thousands on a piece of equipment that will be used for less time than it spends idle. But it is nice to play with expensive toys from time to time, and $40 for a day with a pricey lens feels more acceptable.

Sitting in the shop waiting for my turn, I looked around and saw on the wall an advert for Photography With Purpose. That seemed a good idea. Far better than Purposeless Photography, where you just wave your arms and hit the shutter release button, and hope something pleasing materialises. I looked closer.

As well as claiming to incorporate a lifestyle with photography, the poster also had a logo from the John 3:16 Photographic Supplies company. You know, John 3:16, as in "For God so loved the world, he bought him a Canon Speedlite and some polarising filters for his birthday". A Christian camera supplier? I am the light of the world, but if I'm not available, here's some high ISO film? That sort of thing?

It went some way to explaining the photography-and-God seminar that had accompanied our breakfast a few weeks ago. I'd thought that was a random one-off collision in our favourite Singaporean Christian pancake house. But apparently not. Somebody is making a living by proselytising and teaching people about cameras at the same time.

Is there some irony here? Does the teacher look disdainfully at the schism between Canon and Nikon owners, amd say "no, you'd never get that demented lack of reason in religion"? Does he get annoyed when there's a product evangelist for Sigma lenses? Or is he more concerned with it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to find a decent lab to get your slide film developed? Does he have catholic tastes in portraiture, or will he take pictures of people who are not dressed up like the Pope?

I would have asked, but I was in a hurry to get back to work. It made me wonder if the camera rental shop was part of the same organisation. I mean, there they were, showing great faith that I was going to bring their lens back in a couple of days. Although they don't know I'll be photographing naked birds with it.

Feathery ones, honest.

I didn't get a glass of wine or some bread or even just an Easter egg with my rental though, so I'm going to assume they're not in on the whole paparazzi-for-Jesus enterprise. At least it's better than the Satanist phone shop a few shops over: devilishly good service, yes, but hellishly expensive.


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