Technology and seeing
Eleven years ago, as part of the Biblefresh year, I organised a Bible photography exhibition in the church where I was working at the time. Local businesses donated prizes for the different categories and 79 images were submitted by 27 photographers to illustrate 68 different verses. You can read all about it here. At the time I was asked whether an image should be taken and then a Bible verse found to fit it, or a Bible verse selected and then an image chosen to illustrate it. I maintained then, as I do now, that it does not matter. If the exercise makes us either look at the world through Biblical eyes, or at the Bible reflected in the world about us – then a good thing is happening.
Yesterday, I came across an app, advertised through a Bible reading platform, which offers to cut out that entire exercise. The app allows you to take, or select, a photo, and the app then generates a Bible text to overlay onto it.
Sometimes the results are both clever and beautiful, turning the everyday into visual reminders of the spiritual:
Sometimes they are puzzling, such as a model seaplane ominously suggesting the verse below:
Sometimes there is a degree of confusion, such as here where both an image of a mosque and the cross generate the same verse:
The app is clever, slick, and will doubtless encourage me to play a lot more as I explore the way it works. If the images above are anything to go by, it could produce some very attractive results.
I can’t help the feeling, though, that it will make me lazy. Will it not short-circuit the creative process through which I went with that Bible exhibition seven years ago? I think the app which helps you see the world through a Biblical lens is called ‘imagination’, and it has been around for a long, long time…