What does it look like to be free? This question has been hanging in the peripherals of my thoughts over this past school year. Freedom from self, freedom from sin, freedom to live our lives to the full. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Growing up in a Christian home, I heard about these concepts from an early age. Because of that, I can get wrapped up in words and concepts that I don’t really even understand anymore. That thought process helped spark the concept for this series – I wanted to visually take a look at how truth has kicked out the darkness and helped us get a taste of real freedom here on this earth. I chose to shoot completely in 35mm film using an Ultra Wide & Slim toy camera. It is made of cheap, hot pink plastic, and often times creates crazy light leaks. I love the simplicity and uncertainty of this method – it is refreshing and liberating for me to be able to shoot an entire roll of film, and in this case, several different people, without having a clue how the photos actually look. I have had to really learn how to see and appreciate good lighting, color, and composition.
In each work, I chose to use two images. One features the subject encountering the light, and the next features him or her being illuminated by the light. Underneath, in each person’s own handwriting, is something that they have been freed from. For me, the light represents how the truth of the gospel finds us and stops us in our tracks when we encounter it. When we allow the truths of Jesus Christ to pierce our hearts and change us, we can be set free. In the second image, each person can be seen for who they really are because of that truth. Their identities no longer come from former struggles and expectations that they’ve dealt with – they have been made new and have a new identity that comes from what Christ has done for them. This is how freedom has taken shape in their lives, and how it can take shape in yours.
Stephanie Seitz, photographer