A while back, I came across a photograph in a magazine and a very short story about how it was made that just blew my mind. I have seen tens of thousands of photographs, many of those truly outstanding, but this was different. Somehow I lost the magazine and could never find it again after that, spending the next couple years periodically scouring the web for it.
I found it yesterday evening when I happened across the Singh-Ray blog that I occasionally contribute articles to.
If you know me, many of you might be thinking, “Oh, this must be an amazing landscape shot or a truly beautiful wildlife image…” because that is typically what I am interested in. In this case you would be incorrect.
The visual appeal of this photograph is fantastic in my opinion, but the element that elevates it is the story behind it.
Cole Thompson is the photographer, and the photograph is called “The Angel Gabriel”. You can find it on Cole’s site here along with the story. In short, it is about a homeless man that Cole came across in Newport Beach back in 2006.
Here is a direct quote from Cole’s story taken directly from his website with permission:
” I asked Gabriel how I might contact him, in case I sold some of the photographs and wanted to share the money with him. He said I should give the money to someone who could really use it; that he had everything that he needed. Then the Angel Gabriel walked away, content and carrying his only two possessions: a Bible and a bed roll.”
Think about the significance of that for a moment. To this man, a Bible and bed roll was all that he needed in life – money wasn’t useful to him.
What do I see when I look at this photograph? I see Matthew 8:10. A great portrait in its own right, but the short story of the man in the image is what elevates it to true beauty.
What do you see?