CAPTURED

This photography journey has taught me more than most endeavors have, and not just about photography. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s opened my eyes to things about God, life, and His will for me.

I grew up in a family where art was just a part of life.

My Mama sewed and started a children’s toy business, designing and even hand-crafting some of the plush/stuffed dolls herself. She was also an interior decorator and had a business in that as well. Two of my three sisters have and/or are pursuing art as a career. Painting, drawing, sewing, graphic design -you name it. I also went to college for two years for art and design.

I just loved it. Every bit of it.

I remember when we were younger, the three of us sisters would spend afternoons together, creating necklaces and bracelets with beads and string, transforming clay into little quirky creatures, or scrap-booking with paper and stickers sprawled all across the floor. Nobody ever had to encourage us to do it.

It was just natural. And we’d feed each other’s creativity.

Then I got a hold of my very own, personal, AMAZING –disposable– camera and I went off. I had a deep desire to document my life since it was always changing. I wanted to capture the people, the places, and the memories before we moved again (military in the family, etc).

People I have not seen in years and memories that (at the time) seemed would last forever, are all a thing of the past now, but I hold them all deep in my heart as if I’d just seen them yesterday or experience that moment this afternoon. And in my possession, I have photos of their beautiful faces, those far away places and those painfully beautiful memories with me always.

Ultimately, that’s why I love photography. In a split second -with a click of a button- I am able to make permanent a fleeting moment that I now could relive as many times I wanted, for the rest of my life.

Above images by Bernadine Barber. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Our lives are the sum of these fleeting moments. And I’m so thankful to be alive within the context of time where cameras are available and photography is a thing.

I will always be an artist at heart. However novice. Whether or not I got a degree in it. Whether or not I’m currently “hired” full time to do it. Artists are not limited to titles, or pay or positions. We are who we are simply because we picked up a brush or a pen, that camera or some fabric. And with that tool, and with that material, created something with it. Something that speaks, something beautiful.

It’s in you no matter what. And God has blessed you to make this life (and therefore other’s lives) more meaningful, more vocal, more beautiful.

The interesting thing is, through this small business of photography, I’ve learned that more than being an artists, I have a drive to minister. This might be a no-brainer for some people who know me, but some part of me didn’t want to put that “above” art for fear that I’d be losing a big part of me —someone I’ve known I’ve always been.

I mean, I didn’t get saved until I was sixteen, but I’ve been into art since I first learned to grasp a crayola.

However, the burning to reach people directly with the Word of God and the Gospel has won me over. It has, captured me, if you will. And it has done so more than ever.

So with that said, I’ll be focusing my photography efforts on reaching others while there is yet time to reach. I want to make the most of the time I’ve been given, and for me, that means using all I have been given to preach salvation through Christ alone.

Starting a small business in photography has been an amazing privilege and experience. But honestly, I always felt like something was missing. I want to know the who behind what I see. And especially how God led them from where they’ve been to where they are now.

I want to use my time here wisely: meshing art with the Gospel, truth with poetry, words with discipleship. I have been captivated by the Gospel story and I want to make that tangible.

So with that said, I will be sharing other people’s stories on this blog, integrating portraits of them that I took. It’s an honor that they’re willing to be so generous and courageous to share their stories of redemption with everyone.

Please be on the look out for these posts in the near future… and if you’re interested in sharing yours, please feel free to email me at Bernadine.abj@gmail.com and we’ll take it from there.

I’m so grateful for the support of family and friends. And especially for God’s patience with me as I slowly learn and press on, on this Beautiful Journey.