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Award-Winning Photographer James Estrin On Capturing the Spiritual Experiences that Underlie Everyday Life

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Throughout his career as a New York Times photographer, James Estrin has capture some in credibly powerful photography.

With assignments ranging from capturing the Ground Zero memorial being opened on the one-year anniversary of 9/11, to something as seemingly mundane as capturing photos of the elderly residents who use Meals On Wheels, Estrin takes a unique approach to his photos, attempting to capture a spiritual experience in every moment of life.

In the above video, put together by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, Estrin shares some profound insights into two photographs in particular, pointing out how they capture similarly profound experience despite the vast differences in content.


“I believe that spiritual experience can happen in many different settings,” says Estrin. “It can happen in churches and synagogues and mosques, but I think it can also happen in concert halls. I think it can happen on top of mountains.” It’s this ubiquity of experiences that pushes Estrin to attempt to reveal some of life’s most intimate moments through a camera.

“What I’m trying to do in my photographs is capture these profound moments, these experiences that are essentially internal — they’re invisible,” he elaborates. “When I’m photographing, my goal is to be completely present. In the moment.”

Ultimately, no transcript or summary will match the inspiration Estrin’s words, combined with his humble, excited, yet almost somber body language, convey. Check out the video for yourself at the top.

(via Huffington Post)

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