photographingGOD Photography

Tag: Love

Tunnels Of Love

These are some of the most amazing pictures of a subway system I have ever seen. So how does one turn a metro system into something visually captivating? Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt when the subject is an architectural phenomenon as are the case in Chris Forsyth’s images. However, all train stations, new and old, have elements that can be pleasing or interesting to the eye.

To start, train stations are loaded with interesting parallel lines that all lead to somewhere. Such geometry lends itself to producing cool perspective shots that vanish into somewhere or nowhere, or lead to a destination that is sharp in focus or blurred and blended into the background. Most stations do not offer the same menagerie of color as those featured in Chris’ gallery. However, nearly all have curious lighting that create all sorts of color casts that span the full range of color temperature. From the subtle bulb-lit sign to the powerful florescent fixtures that flood the space. Easily a lack of vibrant color can be substituted with shadows and highlights of blue to yellow light which can add mystery and contrast to the image.

Finally, what do ALL train stations have that can bring photography to life? TRAINS of course! And one can have a field day with the motion caused by a train entering or leaving the platform as well as the action and expressions of people sprinting in and out.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did and get inspired to go “down under” for a day of metro station photography!

Photographer Chris M. Forsyth Exposes the Beauty of the Metro System – Interior Design

Photographer Chris M. Photographer Chris M. Forsyth Exposes the Beauty of the Metro System – Interior Design

thumbnail courtesy of interiordesign.net

You Must Remember This; A Kiss Is Not Just A Kiss…

Photographer Curious About Love Snaps Couples Kissing All Over New York City – Bravo (blog)

Photographer Julia Xanthos loves love. The New York based professional photographer finds young couples in love on the city streets and documents it for a site she created, called YoungLove. Photographer Curious About Love Snaps Couples Kissing All Over New York City – Bravo (blog)

thumbnail courtesy of bravotv.com

We Don’t Have to Have Sight To Truly See

Psalm 146:8
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;

Unique vision from a blind photographer – Bristol24/7

She may be registered blind, but a 15-year-old student fills her Instagram account – @a_blind_photographer – with delicately composed and colourful photographs. Though Roesie Percy cannot see details, she can see shapes and colours. Unique vision from a blind photographer – Bristol24/7

thumbnail courtesy of bristol247.com

Buildings And Institutions Will Not Shape Your Child’s True Potential

At What Cost Does Our Current System Of Education Come?

The developed world spends billions of dollars on education and is continuously moving the goal post on what is expected from our children. Absolutely, we should challenge our children’s potential. God created us with expandable capabilities, skills, and talents. So, we need to be all that we can be (As individuals, and not machines of course).

But, have we stopped to think “at what cost” does this investment come? We push our children to become more educated and competitive. Have we given other forms of critical development equal time? For example, the ability to think creatively and globally. What about socialization and coping skills or what about what we older folks use to call “common sense?” Finally, let us not forget possibly the weakest skill among our entire population. The ability to discern the truth from an opinion. Many schools have debate clubs which provide a competitive forum for students to learn to “win their perspective over.” Yet, where is the Truth Club?

Less Is More; Much More

I tool this photo of a schoolhouse in East Africa. Very typical of what you mind find in the rural part of the Continent. In this one building housed the all the children in the community or tribe. All ages shared a single room and a few sets of school supplies. The pencils were little more than a narrow piece of charcoal. Their writing books were crudely attached, curled pieces of paper. The children were all in uniforms (made possible through donations) which barely separated them by physical appearance. Consequently, there was no competition over who had the best outfit or the “hottest” sneakers (which would certainly upset Urban Outfitters and Nike). Yet, they were so intent on wanting to learn with so little to get in the way or distract them. A perfect setting to inspire a true learning experience.

Lesson Learned

We should take a lesson out of this book and realize that money doesn’t buy love and it doesn’t buy brilliance or intellectual superiority either. God embeds the gift of knowledge our DNA. And it is as much, if not more, the process of how we learn over what we learn. Knowledge alone, may get us a good job or make us plenty of money. However, the pursuit of knowledge and truth will make us what God intended us to be as individuals first, and as a race of man.

educationandthesearchfortruth_gregpai

Fight Like A 2 Year Old

The first time I read this article, I felt hope leak out of me. Who wouldn’t. And the photos didn’t help since they made this little girl’s short life and its finality very real. But, by the grace of God, I was able to pivot my emotions so I could find light in such total darkness.

This baby didn’t battle cancer and die without leaving us a valuable message. Life is a fight. Different battles at different times. And here we have a 2-year-old girl showing us how to fight with grace and hope. I want to thank this lovely little lady for what she personally inspired in me today… To fight like a 2-year-old.

Life interrupted: A photo essay about one girl’s battle with cancer – Russia Beyond the Headlines

A personal story in photos of a small Russian girl who could not overcome cancer. By Ksenia Isaeva, RBTH. Dasha. Scroll down to see more. Yulia Skorobogatova. Russian photographer Yulia Skorobogatova created a photo series about a small girl … Life interrupted: A photo essay about one girl’s battle with cancer – Russia Beyond the Headlines

thumbnail courtesy of rbth.com

Got God On My Mind AND In My Mind

This article is easily controversial and many people will have different kinds of problems with it. WARNING: It is not dinner table conversation!

Nevertheless, what I find especially resolving is that this mainstream look at how our brains respond when experiencing God seems to suggest that it doesn’t matter what “belief system” we subscribe to; The neural or stimulative effect is the same. This is an excellent validation that organized religion has little to do with how we are wired to experience our Creator. This would also help explain why prayer is a common form of connection across every major religion.

This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker

Religious experiences activate the brain reward circuits triggered by love, sex, gambling, drugs and music. BY TRACY STAEDTER. 0. Jeffrey Anderson / University of Utah. This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker

thumbnail courtesy of seeker.com

What This Guy’s “Crazy” Family Is Really Like!

We all have our special version of “crazy.” It’s a place most of us dare not go for fear of embarrassment and sometimes even pain. Not the crazy that risks one’s life or jepordizes another. Rather, the kind of crazy that is in all of us and forces us to act outside our typical, predictable, and narrow emotional expression.

God designed each of us with an infinite range of expression. This includes expressions that most people who know us well would never expect from us. And, if they ever witnessed such expression, they might think we were “losing it.”

As the grind and seriousness of life wears us down, we forget that we have deeper potential and need to express ourselves. The pressures of this life tend to harden us to the point where it may be hard to break down in tears. For others, it may seem impossible to laugh hysterically or smile ear-to-ear for an extended period of time. Yet, these are emotional valves that God installed to regulate our inner peace and potential. I pray today you find your version of crazy and go nuts! Maybe capture it in a candid photo and share it over the holidays like Jeff Frandsen and his family.

The Internet Loves This Family’s Real Holiday Photo, It’s ‘What My Family Is Like’ – ABC News

Jeff Frandsen and his family scored the perfect silly holiday card thanks to his 10-month-old daughter, Emerson. 0 Shares. Email. The Internet Loves This Family’s Real Holiday Photo, It’s ‘What My Family Is Like’ – ABC News

thumbnail courtesy of go.com

By The Power Vested In Me… Not So Sure About That.

This announcement by the Vatican serves as just one more reason so many people around the world are turned off to organized religion. The notion that any mortal man could grant power to another man, like that of forgiveness of sin, is frightening to me.

I am a Christian with a serious concern about the Church, what it is teaching outside of the true Gospel, and skeptical about organized religion as a whole. So I don’t know what that really makes me, except very curious and wanting to know the God of creation! As a child, I was raised as a nominal Catholic; Attended supplemental schooling and summer camp at orthodox Jewish institutions; Today, my family and I work among the Muslim population around the world building bridges of love through business and service. One thing I have learned through this diverse experience is that, like so many other systems, man has “hijacked” the authority over his fellow man and dictates the rules – as he goes along.

I do believe that religion does serve a purpose and leads many to God and to the truth. However, I am terribly concerned that it turns many more away. I know there is a voice inside us that can discern what is God from what is man. This is a very personal voice and connection that can not be bottled up and sold with a label. It is that voice (which I call the Voice Of The Heart) that can lead us as individuals as well as a race of humanity.

This is a sensitive subject. But, I share it with an open mind and a committed heart to learn the absolute truth about God and His creation, together.

Pope Francis to grant priests right to forgive abortion – CNN.com

Pope Francis has extended the powers of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, making the announcement in an apostolic letter released Monday. read more at cnn.com

 

Here Is Your Present… Now What? Seize Control!

The Present
by Greg Pai

God blessed your past
For good reason
It came first and not last

God blesses His plan
Your future by His hand
Not the one influenced by man

God is blessing this moment
Whether you feel joy or resent
Because God’s gift that keeps giving
Is not just any gift…
It’s THE present

The Purpose Of The Past

For every ounce of happiness in the past, we can certainly find an equal dose of sadness. Maybe more. So the true value of the past, and the reason it is behind us and not ahead, is to remind us of God’s grace and blessing.

The wake of life, like that which trails a boat, has the potential to hypnotize us away from the conscientiousness of the moment. It can have us drifting into one of those “Wish I could have…,” “What if I did…,” and “Why me…” kind of mental games which bind us from fully living in the day. Similarly, it can overwhelm us with the euphoria of what “once was” and set us sailing on the “those were the good times” and “remember when…” excursions which lead us to believe the best already came and went. This cannot be the purpose of the past. The past should liberate us, and more importantly, unleash the potential of the current moment.

The Purpose Of The Future

The future, as we know it, is at best uncertain. This is how I describe it:

We have what we know; I call this our instinct
We have what we think we know; I call this our righteousness
We have what we don’t know; I call this our ignorance
And finally, we have what we don’t even know we don’t know; I call this our future

The result is endless, pointless, wasteful worry. Worry about our children, our health, our things, our jobs, our retirement, our country, our future… It is a no wonder that developed countries have medicated populations struggling with anxiety and the like. This cannot be the purpose of the future. The future should breathe life into us and more importantly, invigorate hope into the current moment.

l1030061-edit

The Present

There are gifts. There are presents. And then there is the ultimate gift which is the present. The moment. In fact, this very moment. It is the present that gives function and form to the past and the future as I illustrated above. Every new moment is a gift from God giving true, practical, and celebratory purpose to its two distant cousins, past and future. It gives us every reason to live, every reason to hope, and every reason to give thanks to God. Every moment of every day. That is my prayer for you.

there-are-gifts-there-are-presents-and-then-there-is-the-ultimate-gift-which-is-the-present-1

 

Can You Find Beauty In Hardship?

For most of us, the life of those depicted in the images from this NPR article is simply unimaginable. Still, there is an immense beauty about them that is not easily understood. Probably because hardship brings out the absolute best in us. It separates us from our comfort zone that tends to take off the pressure of truly “living life” and pursuing our full potential.

Hardship builds character. It inspires the possiblity of the impossible. It humbles us to the point where our humanity radiates love, forgiveness, and servitude toward our fellow-man and most importantly, God.

I remember flying back from the Middle East in the summer of 2014 and saying to my beloved wife, “I do not feel like I am taking pictures of subjects anymore. I feel like I am photographing the awesome beauty of creation even in the most destitute parts of the world. I feel like I am photographing God.”

And photographingGOD was born. Blessings…

Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship? If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

thumbnail courtesy of npr.org

You Say I Am Orphan; I Say I Am Loved!

By Greg Pai
Inspired By Andrea Mani
Photo Credit: Andrea Mani

This is a time of the year where many feel lonely or empty.  Especially those who have no family to speak of. Our hearts have to place orphans at the top of that list. What we learn from this story inspired by Andrea Mani, is that we are all orphans if we don’t connect with and depend on God.

IMG_7211__© 2015 Andrea ManiOrphans have seemingly perfected that connection and dependence as a means of survival. In fact, they do not see themselves as orphans; They see themselves as God’s blessed children. Experiencing His abundant, unconditional love as no earthly parent could ever offer.

“You say I am an orphan,” the hearts of the unwanted cried out. “But, I say I am loved. Loved by He who made me.” Andrea Mani fell in love just moments after she arrived for what was six months of service. At a little known ministry in Jocotepec, Mexico, orphan children are changing everyone who comes in contact with them – One soul at a time.

IMG_7246__© 2015 Andrea Mani

IMG_7979__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe orphanage cares for twenty-one girls and one boy. “One boy!” you say. Well, eight-year old Chuy (pronounced “chewy”) is one of three siblings and when the orphanage converted over to an all girls institution a few years back, they didn’t have the heart to separate Chuy from his two sisters, one named Milagro (meaning Miracle in English). A victim of physical and emotional abuse, it was only by a miracle that 8-year old Chuy survived those earlier abusive years. Cigarette burns on his body and later, months of being mute, unable to speak. Inevitably, Andrea would take a special interest in Chuy as he faced the journey of healing ahead of him.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The other children learned not to depend on “man.” God was the provider of everything in their lives and that suited them just fine. It wasn’t long before the children challenged Andrea. “You won’t last two months,” they said. These children were used to people revolving in and out of their lives, often under duress or anxiety.  Andrea not only endured, but also learned why others did not. When a person signs up for this kind of work, they do so assuming they are the “strength” coming to the aid of the “weak.” To the contrary, they quickly learn that the children become inspirational and essential to their own personal journey. Radically changing their heart and perspective. Maybe even feeling inadequate and unnecessary in the ways they expected to make an impact. This is when the process flips on its head and starts to become more of a self-examination of our own lives; a sometimes difficult awakening. However, necessary.

IMG_0828__© 2015 Andrea Mani

Most of these children came from situations too difficult to write about. Even called “rats” by those the heartless of the community. Some had mothers who were prostitutes while exploiting their children sexually for favor. Absolutely tragic. However, how would you know any of this by just looking at them? They are beautiful in every way.  Inside and out, their hearts and smiles radiate.  Yet, they have nothing.  Or do they? Andrea expected overwhelming sensations of abandonment on her arrival. She did not expect what God was about to show her.

IMG_7836__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe children had a life about them that projected pure joy. Amazing as it may seem, the children had a ritual of occasionally going into town and donating their clothing to any one of four impoverished villages in the immediate area. Yes – you read that right. Even though their very limited wardrobes were precious to them, they believed that whatever they gave up would be replenished by God’s own hand.  And guess what?  They were never without. Somehow, newly donated clothes always found a way to their personal shelf (that’s a single shelf). Such faith. I suppose when we have nothing to lose and expect no earthly gain, we are capable of giving and doing our most selfless work in this life. These children are living proof. They see their glass not as a quarter full or three-quarters empty, but overflowing.

We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us.

What is orphan about these children. The dictionary says the noun form is defined as a child who has lost both parents. That is innocent enough. Interestingly, the adjective form is used to describe one who is abandoned. Quite a difference. Unfortunately, we have adopted the more negative connotation as the global definition. We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us. There is that “difficult awakening” thing again!

At some point, Andrea observed a young girl’s mother (a recovering prostitute) visit the orphanage expecting to take her little girl back home. However, with the best of intentions, the woman realized that her daughter was better off staying because she was unable to offer her the same stability and nurturing.

IMG_7163__© 2015 Andrea Mani

However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

As I documented this story, I struggled with internal conflict and confusion. I love God and He fills my life, but am I abandoned enough to really feel the fullness of His love? Many of us have family and good friends around us who bring us a great deal of joy and companionship. But what is it like to have no one but God? Please don’t get me wrong. Family is a blessed gift from God. A special treasure from above. However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

One Nation, Under God…

Dear Americans:

Whatever your political persuasion and your feelings about the current environment, the real tragedy is that America is, was, and will likely continue to be a deeply divided people. Unfortunately, hate and prejudice are in the hearts of all men since the beginning of time. These traits do not belong to a particular political persuasion, religion, race, ethnicity, age, etc. However, man can and will use such mechanisms to promote his own divisive agenda. This vulnerability belongs to all of us.

Similar to President Kennedy’s election, President Obama’s was historic (no matter how you looked at it politically) because it had the potential for us as a country to embrace the notion that all men were created equal by God. Instead, it drastically widened an already existing chasm that separates Americans into adversarial groups. But I have the good news of hope for everyone, democrat, republican, apolitical, and those who may not care at all. God still loves ALL of us. No prejudice. No hatred. Just pure LOVE!

So, I say to all of you in pain; turn your hearts to God for peace and the strength to see that God is above all of this. And I say to all of you in celebration, turn your joy to humility and put yourself beneath those in need. So that America may rise up as “One Nation Under God.” Peace be with all of you…

TrueLoveIsLockedInTrustAndSacrafice_GregPai

Visit the Gallery Shop to purchase this fine art piece by photographer Greg Pai to grace your home or office:

Greg Pai On “The Voice of the Heart” and photographingGOD Podcast

Journey with photographer, writer, and photographingGOD Founder Greg Pai as he describes the perils of a destructive noise he calls the “Voice of the World” which seeks to separate us from our God-given purpose, peace, and passion. Greg’s diverse life experiences have led him to the conclusion that the systems of the world, under the design and authority of man including, but not limited to, education, media, healthcare, economics, religion, and government, have failed us and are at the center of the world’s chaos.

Greg shares how photographingGOD promotes man’s potential for purpose, peace, and passion when we learn to disarm the “Voice of the World” and replace it with the “Voice of the Heart” which is rooted in truth and love. The mission of photographingGOD is to bring together a global community of all cultures, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, races, ages and genders hungry to connect with (1) their own hearts and souls, (2) their fellow man and woman, (3) the enormity of creation, and (4) God; the giver of all life and blessing. This is NOT as story about religion. Quite the contrary. It is a story about Life and Purpose and how one man is seeking it and finding it by going outside the boxes that we are all so bound by.

Figuratively speaking, our goal is to see the world “through the lens of God’s eyes.” Our hope is that we “Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

This Podcast will not only inspire you, but we can nearly promise that “You will Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

cover170x170

Join “Beyond Your Wildest Genes” host Noah Dekoyer for Greg Pai On photographingGOD.

Click Here To Link To The Podcast

When The World Goes Low…

What Is True Joy?

Doing well and doing good not only go together, but are among the secret ingredients of true joy. Not the joy that comes from graduating from college, landing your first job, getting married, having a child, buying your dream car or home, or retirement. Those things are joyful, but they are also fleeting. Their elation will last for a time and will undoubtedly be interrupted by life’s unfortunate circumstances. However, true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances. It is found when we take everything we are given, and multiply it for the glory of God and His creation so that every day is met without expectation and only gratitude.

…true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances.

Letting Go

“Okay, I’m sold!” you say. “Where can I get some “true joy?” It starts with the difficulty of letting go, or the “jump” as I like to call it. Like a first attempt at skydiving. Once you leave the plane, you have gotten over the hard part because you really don’t have any choice in the matter after that. Letting go is the key. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of things you think you need. And most of all, letting go of everything we have including our talents, gifts, time, energy, money, resources, etc. Oh, and the most coveted of all, our love. We want so desperately to be loved, but we are so possessive and unwilling to give it up without some sort of fair exchange. Unconditional love is costly, but delivers the greatest return.

Free Falling Drives Passion

During the “free fall” stage, we begin to detect true joy because it inspires unbridled passion. Now, our day’s expectations are shaped by what we can do to positively impact someone or something and not by what we can achieve or get for ourselves. The deep emotional expression of PASSION is activated and gives our life its greatest sense of meaning and significance.

We have become so use to doing things for personal gain. Our culture drives this aim which only leads to empty purpose and obsession, not passion. If you don’t believe this, just ask “really successful” people what they think about that which gave them the success and was the driver of their daily purpose. Then reread this article.

Go High!

James Dickson spends nearly his whole day serving and protecting people as a first responder in New York City. When he is not doing that, he is serving and protecting people. He explores ways that he can take his love for skydiving and make it more than a personal 10-minute joy. So, he aligned himself with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn which aims to iwhentheworldgoeslow_gregpaimprove the quality of life for children battling brain tumors and pediatric cancer. Through an event he organized, he made 25 jumps in one day while many others jumped to raise awareness and resources for this cause. Risking life for life. Each and every jump lasting far more than the jump itself, but for the lifetime of a dying child.

In a world that achieves new lows every day in its preoccupation with selfishness and hatred, it is great to see others who choose to go high with passion.

 

Cat Got My Tongue

I grew up believing I was allergic to cats and dogs. I later learned this was nothing more than a fable fabricated by others to discourage me from wanting a pet. So the TIME story, “Here Are Some Adorable Photos Of Kittens Pouncing” grabbed my tongue and inspired me to write a personal memoir, not about cats per se, but about life.

Fast forward many years later, I found myself wandering into a pet store and buying my first dog. It was love at first sight and every sight thereafter. I could not help but remorse over the years I missed out on this joy as a child. A few dogs later, I married a die-hard cat lover. She was (and is) quite the package and the package included two cats. “But Honey!” I exclaimed. “We can’t take the cats because I am allergic. Just not to dogs.” This was clearly a convenient modification of the childhood fib I grew up with to accommodate my selfish preferences at the time. Dogs over cats. Unfortunately, ignorance won and my wife lost. Relatives got the cats.

How often we let our ignorance, anxieties, and stubbornness get in the way of experiencing so many things this life has to offer. Moreover, these personal shortcomings have a way of occasionally interfering with the joy of others in ways that are rarely measurable. Today, my heart has softened for cats and my wife’s love for them. The photos of these little kittens featured in the TIME article make them so irresistible to me. These little cutie kittens definitely got my heart and my tongue. But, it is my heart and my tongue that makes this story about more than cats. How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?

How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?

The action of avoidance comes at great cost. Many things we avoid, without good and sound reason, will remain an unsolved mystery for the rest of our lives. You may say, “Well, if I don’t care about the mystery, why would I care if it is solved?” Great question and best answered with a question. How many times have you enjoyed something or someone only because you overcame an obstacle of some sort and gave it or them a chance? Perhaps, that date you repeatedly rejected until you caved in and ended up falling in love. Or maybe a food you said you would never try and finally did and became a favorite. A place you said you would never live. A country you said you would never visit. Children you said you would never have and did and they became the pinnacle of your life!

Speaking of children… These little creations need to be the focus of our reconditioning. We need to teach them to be open-minded as often as possible. To have a basis for their thoughts that is rooted in truth. I get bunched up when I ask one of my children “Why?” and they just say “Because! Just because…!” “Just because” is such a weak and lame answer… To ANY question. I suspect we just get tired of adding an untruth to the end any question we simply don’t have a good and substantive answer for.

I wonder how many things I failed to attempt, pursue, or enjoy because I let my attitude get in the way. Unfounded behavior that has no place in a world that screams, “I am remarkably made!”

Oh, how much we miss. Why?  Well, I guess because… Just because…

Here Are Some Adorable Photos of Kittens Pouncing – TIME

Here Are Some Adorable Photos of Kittens Pouncing – Seth Casteel — who has previously gifted the world with photo books of both puppies and babies swimming underwater — is back with another adorable project. Here Are Some Adorable Photos of Kittens Pouncing – TIME

thumbnail courtesy of time.com

The World According To The World. A Frightening Look.

Whatever belief system you subscribe to, I think most of us can agree that civilization is becoming increasingly self-destructive. I suppose we may have been more barbaric in the distant past (and that may be debatable). Yet, has man’s creation of increasingly complex systems including government, finance & economics, health & medicine, organized religion, education, agriculture, commerce, technology, science, communications, media, and transportation, promoted progress for the human race? Is progress leaving anyone behind? Are we eradicating sickness and poverty; improving the quality, beauty, and integrity of life; preserving our environment and resources, or increasing peace, tolerance, respect, love, compassion, service, and faith around the world? These are all very important questions to ask ourselves. Right here and now.

l1020691-editImbalances Often Signal Something Is Not Quite Right

Who has benefited and at what cost? This is the first question. The resource-rich United States is split in half politically with each side believing their respective needs and wants are not being met. The result is that no one seems to be content and the frustration and hate index is going through the roof.

We should ask, “Are the systems to blame? Do they consider the totality of the population or just a chosen few? Are they creating catastrophic imbalances that grow division?” Another example, the US is the greatest consumer of the world’s resources. It represents 18% of the world’s energy consumption* and only 4.5% of the world’s population. How can we think for a moment that such imbalances will not have intentional and unintentional side effects. Just to be clear, the United States is not the only producer of “imbalances.” Imbalances exist throughout the entire developed and underdeveloped world unfortunately. It’s a simple problem of cause and effect.

Manmade Systems Are Just That, Manmade; Not God-Made

We are not advancing as a civilization. Progress has not only stalled. It is going in the opposite direction. We need to look deeply and honestly into the design and consequences of the systems we are designing and managing.

In education, for example, we do not teach our children how to learn. Educational institutions have replaced those more natural abilities with tools and techniques that encourage memorization of facts and accumulation of information; Not knowledge. Furthermore, children are classified instead of individually nurtured due to the demands placed on these institutions to produce “results.” Progress is rewarded at the sacrifice of process. Moreover, test results and grades define potential instead of passion and conviction. Unfortunately, no training to seek or discern the truth. Rather, programming in nearly every course that teach our children to debate and promote a perspective or point. What some of us would call “lawyering.”

The more we learn, the more we may earn, and the less we will grow, because the less we will ever want to know.

The subject of manmade systems is is a fairly complex discussion and will invite much debate. However, it is central to how we live together in this world while seeking purpose, peace and passion. It will be a theme that will certainly present itself often on this platform because it is both a catalyst and disruptor to the different definitions of progress. Progress as humans. But more importantly, progress as a creation. An amazing creation with amazing potential to attain true joy on this earth.

Cynical, But Hopeful

In closing (for now), Please do not see me as cynical. I truly apologize if I disturbed the balance of your day at all. However, I am willing to disturb your day if it has the potential to enhance your life. Man has extraordinary talents, gifts, characteristics, and blessings that have been created for good. But… WARNING: When man relies fully and only on himself to pursue good, without God, it seems he too often ends up with not so good and not at all God.

iamnotacyniciamasinner_gregpai*Source: US Energy Information Administration

Hope For The Hopeless

While in Central Park, I took this photo called “Prayer In the Park.” I could not help but capture the peace of this man in meditation. Maybe he was praying for a greater purpose, the healing of a loved one, or perhaps the world. Regardless, it is an amazing gift that we can connect with God through prayer.

The Thieves Of Hopelessness And Despair

The thieves of hopelessness and despair exist to breakdown gratitude and faith. Hopelessness operates like a well-planned heist. First, it shuts out the lights so we cannot see or find gratitude. All gratitude including gratitude for the moment we are occupying and gratitude for the moments of joy we already experienced, however few or far we may think they are. It wants complete darkness and control. It fills the dark room with obstacles like self-doubt, anxiety, and a preoccupation with everything that has gone wrong in our lives.

The Crown Jewel: Faith

The final stage of the crime is to run off with the crown jewel, Faith. In the confusion and sadness of the darkness, hopelessness convinces us that God doesn’t exist or if He does, He just doesn’t care. Then faith is ripped from the typically guarded protection of our heart and soul and the thief runs off with the goods.

The Real Thing: Hope

Except, the thief was unaware that the faith he stole was counterfeit. Just like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in France, the real one is often relocated to unknown location. “True” faith cannot be taken from us. God protects and guards it just like His love.

So, when you think your hope has been stolen, remember that hope still remains.

whenyouarealloutof-hope

Sibling Harmony

Too many of us have a lost or strained relationship with one or more of our siblings. These photos should inspire us to rebuild bridges of love with those whom God intentionally enjoined us with to form our family. A sibling is like an arm or a leg. They have a purpose in our lives and we need to have a relationship with them in order to find our what that purpose is. Brothers and sisters are not dispensable. God wastes nothing. There is a reason God blessed you with family. -Greg Pai

In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan – Wall Street Journal (blog)

In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan. Indians on Thursday were celebrating Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. In Pictures: Indians Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Day Raksha Bandhan – Wall Street Journal (blog)

thumbnail courtesy of wsj.com

My Public Profession

You know me as a photographer, writer, and Founder of photographingGOD. I also want you to know me as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Yes – that would make me a Christian. However, I want to live like Christ more than any label could offer. Frankly, religion and labels do more to offend me than not. Probably, because man has used them both for his own divisiveness. The current election in the United States is proof positive of that.

All my life, I have loved all people including atheists, non-believers, Jews, Muslims, Christians, other faiths, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, gays, straights, rich, poor, the wrong, the “so-called” righteous, and everyone in-between. Probably because my own background and DNA span many (if not most) of those categories. However, just over four years ago, Jesus saved my life and in doing so, my love for all of God’s people and creation deepened. This is who the true Jesus was. The ultimate Lover with the ultimate Love Story.

photographingGOD was born to share the beauty of creation; Yes – God’s creation with the world. Void of the pitfalls that religion introduces to a conversation between people who may have different faiths and often even different views within a faith. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my love for all of you is driven by my love for Jesus and His love for me. My prayer is that you are loved as much as I and if you are not, that I help your journey to it. Blessings…

Amen, amin, آمين, ամեն, амин, amen, 阿門, Aamen, siya nawa, Αμήν, אָמֵן, Ámen, Amin, o’n, アーメン, 아멘, Amém, Аминь, амен, Aamiin, Amina, สาธุ, амінь, Omin

Do You Know True Love?

Locks of Love
Photographer: Greg Pai
2017 Collection
Limited Edition of 75

LOCATION: New York, NY
WHEN: July 2016
TECHNICAL: Leica SL (Type 601) with Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Lens; ISO 1,250; 1/125 sec; f4.0

About “Locks of Love”

From his 2017 Fine Art Photography Collection, “Locks of Love” was shot by Greg Pai, world-renowned photographer, author, and founder of of the digital media phenomenon, photographingGOD.

“Locks of Love” was shot at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge where hundreds of padlocks crowd the bridge’s fences and steel cables – left by couples to symbolize the strength of their bonds.

Interested in owning “Locks of Love”?

Visit the pGODgallery for more of Greg’s wonderful works and the photographingGOD webSIGHT where his works, including this piece, are enjoyed by millions around the world.

Emotional Capture

Photographer looking for woman in touching photo. A woman walking alone, spreading something along the drag strip. It turned out to be a loved one’s ashes. That touching image has been shared thousands of times on social media. Now the photographer is hoping to put a name to her face. Photographer looking for woman in touching photo – WCYB

thumbnail courtesy of wcyb.com

Are You A True Friend?

The world of reality television wants us to believe that the way to live is in conflict. Particularly among our family and friends. This is not natural. We were not created this way. We have a greater capacity to love and forgive. Real reality television would depict families and friends knowing that a cycle of discourse is nothing more than a cycle… Of discourse. But to love and to forgive is perpetual and grows exponentially with time. Like a flower raises from the ground, buds open from its stem, and blossoms for all to enjoy and marvel. It is only when it returns to the ground that it ceases to grace and bless us. This is a true friendship.

Maya Barnes Phone Home… Not!

Maya is a 14-year-old, somewhat typical, high school student. What possibly makes her less typical is her willingness to disconnect from the digital madness that has consumed our world. Well – at least long enough to understand what she might have been missing. It didn’t happen voluntarily at first. However, she quickly learned to cooperate with her unfortunate circumstances.  Here is Maya’s story in her own words…

Maya Barnes Phone Home… Not!

A week ago, the thought of just putting my phone down for a day made me extremely anxious. But now that I broke my phone, I have no choice but to go without it. It honestly hasn’t been as bad as I expected. I am still able to contact my friends and family when I am at home through my computer, but when I am out… I am completely phone free.

As much as not having a phone has been a little inconvenient, in the way that I can’t contact my parents or friends when I’m outside of home, it has actually helped me focus more on things other than social media and texting. I focus more on school and actually talking to people…actual people and not a screen!

Technology seems to get in the way of people actually interacting and actually seeing the world around them. It may seem as though you are communicating with other people, but you are actually isolating yourself in a way many people don’t realize.

The absence of technology inspired Maya to “blow the dust off” her camera and put her creative potential to work. Check it out. The results are impressive!

Photo Credit: Maya Barnes (Age 14)

Passion & Strength Alert: Love For Ocean Photography

Adrenalin and adrenal glands: Love for ocean photography not dampened by rare disease. Shannon Glasson is not letting a serious illness get in the way of her passion for ocean photography, even if she is on a four-times-per-day medication regime to keep her alive. The 17-year-old was born with congenital adrenal hyerplasia, a very… Adrenalin and adrenal glands: Love for ocean photography not dampened by rare disease – ABC Online

thumbnail courtesy of abc.net.au

Look Into My Eyes…

We desperately need to have a deeper connection with one another. Though it may seem uncomfortable at first, looking into each other’s eyes when conversing fosters trust and compassion.

 

Gorillas Are People Too!

Beautiful unseen pictures show Harambe the gorilla’s human side and why world fell in love with ‘gentle giant. ‘These poignant never-seen-before pictures of Harambe the gorilla reveal his human side and show just why the world fell in love with the mammal dubbed a ‘gentle giant’. Beautiful unseen pictures show Harambe the gorilla’s human side and why world fell in love with ‘gentle giant’ – Mirror.co.uk

thumbnail courtesy of mirror.co.uk

I Love To See Men Cry

‘I Love to See Men Cry’: Interview With Jill Freedman, Street Photographer of the ’70s and ’80s. I found the photographer Jill Freedman on a packed subway car. I was doing what lots of people do during their commute to and from work—scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. Another photographer I follow re-posted one of her photos with something … ‘I Love to See Men Cry’: Interview With Jill Freedman, Street Photographer of the ’70s and ’80s – Jezebel

thumbnail courtesy of jezebel.com