In this first book to explore photography as a spiritual practice from a Christian perspective, Christine Valters Paintner builds on the process of contemplative creativity she introduced online at Abbey of the Arts and in her book The Artist’s Rule. She considers how a camera can help readers open “the eyes of the heart.”More than a book on photographic technique, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice is about cultivating photography as a spiritual practice.
Adapting the monastic practice of lectio divina (sacred reading) into a form of visio divina (sacred seeing), spiritual director and Benedictine oblate Christine Valters Paintner invites readers to a new way of viewing the world—through the lens of a camera. Paintner guides readers through six themes connecting the medium of photography with the Christian spiritual life.
Each theme provides a photographic journey in which the reader does not simply take images, but receives images and learns to see with “the eyes of the heart” (Eph 1:18). Photos by the author are included.
Table of Contents
1. Seeing with Eyes of the Heart
2. Practices and Tools to Cultivate Vision
3. The Dance of Light and Shadow
4. What Is Hidden and What Is Revealed?
5. The Symbolic Significance of Color
6. What Is Mirrored Back?
7. Discovering the Holy within Us
8. Seeing the Holy Everywhere
Christine Valters Paintner a virtual monastery without walls offering a variety of classes in contemplative practice and creative expression. She is a Benedictine Oblate, writer, artist, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and teacher. Her fields of expertise include Christian spiritual practices, monastic spirituality, and the expressive arts. Christine earned her PhD in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and her professional status as Registered Expressive Arts Consultant and Educator (REACE) from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
Opening Christine Paintner’s Eyes of the Heart is like entering a garden in full bloom. It opens up all your senses so you see, smell, taste, and touch the world in a whole new way. Paintner has a gift for reuniting the transcendent and the immanent. She calls God home. She sees the Divine in the pebble on the path, hears its sound in the buzzing mosquito. This modern-day monk knows the essential secrets to sacred living and joyful being and she shares them freely.
- Jan Phillips, Author of No Ordinary Time
Christine Valters Paintner explores the eye as a window to the heart. Using scripture and observations from thinkers in all faiths she offers a spirituality of photography as writing with light. This monk, photographer-artist, and writer combines the art of image receiving with visio divina, taking us through a detailed program for the feeling, reflecting, and completion of our heart’s vision.
- Br. John J. O’ Hara, S.A., Graymoor Spiritual Life Center
Eyes of the Heart is more than a celebration of God’s presence in the world. It is itself an experience of receiving the Divine directly within. Paintner’s insights and exercises lead the reader to a personal, intimate encounter with divinity. In the process, she also illuminates the way to self-understanding and creative serenity.
- Anthony F. Chiffolo, Author of 100 Names of Mary