One of the most time-consuming and rewarding parts of my job is sifting through hundreds, if not thousands, of images — usually photographs — for use on the Web site and in the e-mail newsletter for each week’s show. I attempt to bring another layer of meaning and understanding to the broadcast/podcast, and, when I’m on my game, a moment of transcendent elegance and beauty.

Much like the music chosen in our program, each image to me is a unique content element with its own story, even if it’s not clearly defined. One photo may just catch the eye enough for you to read on; another may make you crinkle your nose a bit and wonder why did they choose that one.

I relish ambiguity and subtlety. I prefer photographs that cause the viewer to ask more questions than offer answers. I prefer to honor the viewers intellect and curiosity rather than simply report the story. For SOF, I prefer human images to inanimate objects.

For this week’s program “Inside Mormon Faith” I struggled to create a group of images to choose from. Of course, there were loads of photographs of LDS temples from all points on the globe — some absolutely haunting and dramatic:
(photo: Russell Mondy)

And some ethereal and expressive (taken with a toy camera):
(photo: William “formica”/Flickr)

When I was looking for more human, pedestrian moments, I saw photos by a reporter from the Sunday Times of London (don’t you just adore the guy covering his face) of Mitt campaigning :
(photo: Tony Allen-Mills)

Oh, yes, a rock band pretending to be Mormons:
(photo: BLKHRTMDR/Flickr)

…and young men singing Christmas carols and speaking to non-Mormons:

(photo: Michael Ignatov)

(photo: Brian “hoveringdog”/Flickr)

But, in the end, the decision came down to two images, with this one losing out by a hair. What I appreciated about it was the repeating patterns of the brick, the interaction of LDS members in different ways in a very pedestrian manner — waiting at a bus stop.
(photo: Simon Knott)

I ended up going with the image leading this post because of one thing. The young man was looking into the camera without posing but was in the background surrounded by other passersby. It had a greater depth I couldn’t ignore.

What would you have gone with? Should I have been looking in different places?

Share Your Reflection



Eye contact is a powerful thing. I like the 4 singers, too, for the fact that they are engaged in an act of faith. The young missionary is interesting because it's a scene, there's action, there's a story being told by the picture. All that being said, you can see the common thread: black and white rules!

I love your program and your piece on Mormonism. I have a good friend who is a Mormon. She told us about one little known tradition with the missionary work. Her friends all cut up their neckties after their service was over. They also had competitions over who had the ugliest tie. She is so not like stereotypes we see in the newspaper - fun and funny!

I loved the photograph of the missionary in the background. Good choice!

I think your choice was perfect. I was struck by the motion of the passers-by and the quieter position of the young missionary. And I think most observers of the Mormon church think of the young adults who we have met at our doors or on the street as images of what that faith is about. And the black and white photo helps us to focus on the face of the people in the picture.