Posts in Articles
What is your focus?

I always love seeing photos that demonstrate a clear distinction between the focal point and the blurry background because you know what is most important in the picture. Immediately, your full attention is led by whatever is on focus when you see the picture. I was always so fascinated by how a camera visualizes the focus on a picture, but once I realized that cameras are just mimicking our human eyes, I was in complete awe of our Creator.

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ArticlesCamila ChenComment
A Discourse on Handling Grief from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is built on the complexity of its characters
rather than straight-forward character arcs traditionally seen (this article contains spoilers so
unless you are alright with not having seen the movie, you have been notified). As an audience,
redemption for good characters and retribution for bad characters only seem natural and for
many viewers, that’s what we want. Mildred, the embattled mother fighting for justice over the
murder of her daughter does not get redeemed nor the closure she wants emotionally by the end
of the film. Neither does Dixon, the wild and racist cop, gets fully redeemed nor punished for his
actions throughout the story. By the end of the movie, the audience is put in a strange gray area
and we are left in a place where nothing is resolved as Mildred and Dixon contemplate on
whether to kill a rapist as they drive off. It’s a strange film where we get to experience the
frustration and outrage of the failures of our justice systems through the lack of any real
resolution to the film. The film focuses on the pointless actions that are brought on by grief and
the stress of situations that don’t have simple solutions…

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The Creativity of Forgiveness

I wonder if Dinah forgave prince Shechem for raping her (Gen. 34).  Could Tamar of Genesis have forgiven her brother-in-law Onan for sexually taking advantage of her (Gen. 38) or Tamar of 2 Samuel have forgiven her half-brother Amnon for raping her (2 Sam 13)?  Did Bathsheba forgive King David at some point in their marriage after he abused his power and forced her to have sex with him (2 Sam 11)?  There are few things I can imagine that may be more offensive than sexual assault, a trespass that painfully takes something very personal and physical from someone, which cannot be given back.  Against such crimes, forgiveness must be extremely hard.  And yet I also wonder how could Jesus forgive his enemies as he hung on the cross, his body shamed and tormented, saying, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

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Creativity & Redemption

When something is broken, it is natural to throw it away and start over. It’s like how we throw the shards of a broken plate into the trash and buy a new one. I’m drawn, however, to works of beauty that you don’t realize are created out of broken contents until you view it closely. At the Burbank art festival this year, incredible installations and metal sculptures caught my eye from a distance. I made a beeline for that booth, bypassing the other four before it. Arriving at my targeted booth, I see that all the metal sculptures were made from rusted toys, old, nonfunctioning cameras, and random scrap parts. Other people’s trash became this artist’s raw material for beautiful creations.

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The Creative Life between His First & Second Comings

Religions have generally portrayed the ultimate good for any person is to escape this physical world that is bound to decay, deterioration, and destruction.  Everything physical that is susceptible to sickness, weakness, and harm is associated with the cause of suffering.  Whether it’s our spirits escaping the cycle of reincarnation, being united with the one source, or leaving a vile world to be in paradise based on our good deeds, religions advocate the grand dream for anyone is to abandon a flawed and fallen physical existence.  The gospel of Jesus, however, presents a uniquely creative vision.

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Artists As Sages, Heralds & Prophets

How are artists sages, heralds and prophets?  

To create profound art, artists look deeply into reality, past the surface to investigate the meaning of the way things are.  Why does the world function this way?  What does a certain social practice really mean?  What are the presumptions that lie behind common comments?  Artists seek to recognize the true meaning of things, beyond the norms, fads and trends that may present things at face value.  Insight – that is what artists aim to gain and to express to open the eyes of their viewers and give deeper understanding of truth-claims about reality. 

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Human Dignity Is Core To Our Humanity

Respect – why is it a necessary social value and what does it have to do with creativity? We especially recognize how essential respect is when someone treats us disrespectfully. Consider how fundamental respect is. Someone can’t say he/she loves you and yet treats you disrespectfully. While love and respect are not the same things, respect qualifies the authenticity of love. Can you imagine someone telling you he/she loves you but belittles or demeans you, making you feel like you are not worth much? Disrespect makes love suspect.

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Through the Lens of Brokenness

When I first embarked on my photography journey, I focused on the aesthetically pleasing side of it all. I would catch myself looking at the intricate details of a flower, of the deep blue hue of the sky, and the ferocious sunsets that would cause a red and orange glow upon the land. In other words, I ignored the ugly things and focused only on the beautiful. I avoided the dirt on the sidewalk for the splendor of the rose on the bush above. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on the beautiful. I firmly believe that the beauty on this earth exists to bring God glory and to point back to Him. But on the flip side, as a photographer, I cannot ignore the dirt in this world. Our current state is a broken one.

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Creative Urge: I Gotta Do It

Ideas float through our minds like an autumn breeze carrying colored leaves.  Inspirations revisit our thoughts, stirring our imaginations to feats of wonder.  We move on with our daily functions, taking care of practical needs, but we ponder over the ideas again.  Though we forget about them during the humdrum of our routines, we’re aware of the ideas sitting in the recess of our minds.  Whenever they visit us in our daydreams, we sense the urge to embark on the ideas that have taken residence in us.

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What Is Creativity?

One of the most common statements I hear in response to the subject of creativity is, “I am not creative.” This statement is pregnant with a set of assumptions about creativity and about oneself. Generally, what is meant is the person does not perceive him/herself to be good at arts-and-crafts or to possess aesthetic talent, such as decorating, drawing, or dancing. How we define ourselves influences greatly what we are apt to do.

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The Purpose of Creativity: Good

Contrary to popular perceptions of creativity as being purely about doing something cool or nifty, creativity bears a purpose that enriches our world. Someone recently said to me that he thought creativity was just about being artsy and crafty. It is and much more. Creativity holds back the onslaught of suffering and moves forward the progress of development. The exercise of creativity is necessary for a good world.

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