Seeing with love

A lot of us spend a good amount of time and energy trying to change the world we see for the better.  A recent collection of photos by Columbus photographer Ben Willis called The Home We Know is a good reminder that changing how we see is also vital.  The Washington Post refers to his work as “a love letter to Columbus, Ohio.” 

The photos were taken over a four-year period and capture faces and places around the city.  Many of the people are looking directly at the camera.  Of the ones shown in the article there is an everyday dignity given to the subjects. 

Willis writes: “My work is a labor of love, and the work much like life is held together by that kind of love and admiration for one another but also one’s self. When you walk around and interact in the city you’ve got to remember what you’re looking at is also you.”

It sounds like a version of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I like thinking of seeing with eyes of love as a spiritual discipline.  It’s a different kind of energy than fixing a problem or advocating for policy change. 

It reminds me of a favorite quote from Father Gregory Boyl: “Our choice always is the same: save the world or savor it. And I vote for savoring it. And, just because everything is about something else, if you savor the world, somehow — go figure — it’s getting saved.” 

Unfortunately it looks like The Home We Know has already sold out of its 250 original printings.  It is good to know that this way of seeing is in high demand.