What Photography Has Taught Me About Prayer

Sep 14, 2023

My name is Alvaro Martinez, and I am a Columban priest who has always been fascinated by photography. Through my experiences with photography, I find a connection with nature, people, and, most importantly, God and myself.

Nature photography requires patience, quietness, and planning. It involves carrying heavy equipment to a location and waiting for nature to reveal something stunning. It is a moment of prayer and contemplation where I take my time to appreciate nature and God without rushing.

Hong Kong. Photo: Fr Alvaro Martinez

I must remain still to allow them to reveal their beauty to me. Personal encounters cannot be forced; they come in their own time, God’s time. Not every encounter will be perfect or successful, but I wait patiently for that perfect moment.

Contemplation does not end when I leave the location. There is a second moment when I see the photos on my computer. Sometimes, what I thought was a poor day turns out to be a wonderful and perfect dialogue with the Creator.

Duck in a national park in Hong Kong. Photo: Fr Alvaro Martinez

Do not be discouraged if you do not see immediate results in your prayer life. As in photography, it takes time to learn and improve. Keep practicing, and you will eventually see results. Do not give up!

Hong Kong. Photo: Fr Alvaro Martinez

Many photographers spend days, months, or even years in order to capture the perfect photo. It is similar to our spiritual life; we must keep trying, and eventually, a profound encounter will come and make the road clearer and the path shining.

Monkey taking food from a man in Hong Kong. Photo: Fr Alvaro Martinez

Fr Alvaro Martinez is from Chile. He was ordained in 2003. He currently serves on the Missionary Society of St Columban’s General Council in Hong Kong.

Share This