how writing and photography are both a form of seeing

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools. – Ecclesiastes 9:17

IMG_3178I’ve expressed this idea before, but it bears repeating. I don’t so much see myself as a photographer as an observer. In that regard, capturing an image is much the same as writing. There’s something that I see, something that I experience, something that touches me, and I try to share it with the world – either by writing about it or by looking through a lens.

There’s a difference between a “pretty” photograph and a profound photograph. A photograph can certainly be both, and I enjoying looking at pictures that are beautiful; but for me it’s more important that the image actually say something… even if I’m not quite sure what that is!

Maybe especially when I’m not quite sure exactly what the art, or the writing is saying. I’ve noticed that the more years of experience I gather as a human being, the more I value that which can easily leave me scratching my head. I have come to understand that blithe certainty is seldom so potent as well considered, thoughtfully tested belief.

I have come to understand that blithe certainty is seldom so potent as well considered, thoughtfully tested belief. 

Sometimes I just know that something touches me; that some words – or a picture – speak to my life and maybe the human condition; that God is somehow revealed; and that in consequence I grow just a little bit more.

IMG_2830This is what happens to me – and hopefully through me – every morning when I “warm up my writing engine” through this blog.

I don’t intend to provide easy answers so much as I aim to prompt thoughtful questions, to stimulate honest reflection, and to invite anyone who stumbles across this space to think seriously about a deeper commitment to following the road less often traveled by, the life of intentional discipleship.

I started writing this morning with the intention of commenting on the fact that the two images in today’s post are both very much the same picture. However, having read what I just wrote, I’ll leave the commentary up to you.

In love, and because of love – DEREK


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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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