NASHVILLE (BP) — Charles Stanley will be honored for his use of photography in ministry during the Southeastern Photojournalism Conference Feb. 1-2 at the SBC Building in Nashville.
Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the longtime senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, founder of In Touch Ministries and an accomplished photographer.
Stanley’s photography is “an inspiration, and his use of the visual image to share the Gospel has impacted so many people,” said conference director Bob Carey, a former president of the National Press Photographers Association.
“His use of his photographs in his sermons and books relates the love of Christ. That is the foundation of our conference and we feel he is deserving” of recognition, said Carey, chairman of the department of communication and new media at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
In addition to Stanley, the conference will feature top photographers selected for their work and impact.
This year’s faculty will include Stacy Pearsall, a former military photojournalist who started the Veterans Portrait Project; Garrett Hubbard, former senior video journalist at USA TODAY; Gabriel Tait, Ball State University professor and former photojournalist at the Detroit Free Press; Me Ra Koh, a leading portrait photographer and video host; Bill Fortney, longtime nature photographer; and Country Music Hall of Fame musician Ricky Skaggs who has been photographing his travels for the last several years.
The recognition of Stanley is scheduled for Friday afternoon and a show of his work will be presented prior to the event, with Stanley speaking about the spiritual importance of photographs and their impact. Earlier in the day, he will meet with the participants in the student workshop portion of the conference.
Stanley is the author of two photo books — the visual devotional “Landscapes of His Grace” and “I Love to Tell the Story.”
Stanley discussed his love of photography with the Georgia Baptists’ Christian Index news service in 2016, recounting, “Some years ago I was on a trip to Alaska with a good friend and photographer, David Smith. He asked me, ‘Would you like to get a good photograph of an eagle?’
“I told him, ‘yes’, and sure enough, I got a fantastic shot of an eagle. Later when I was preaching on Isaiah 40 where God says, ‘But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint,’ I showed that photo of the eagle. I believe God used it to enhance the effectiveness of the message.”
The conference was started by Southern Baptist photojournalists 27 years ago, originally meeting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, moving to Nashville in 2018.
The conference is open to professional photographers, students, beginners and anyone interested in photography.
“We focus on the ‘why’ of photojournalism,” Carey said in advance of the 2018 conference. “We bring in speakers that view their photography as a calling more than just a job. It is exciting to see how God has moved in so many of their lives and visual work.”
“Those who attend this conference are very serious about their work,” Jim Veneman, another conference organizer, had said, describing it as more “inspirational” than “technical.” “There isn’t much talk about f-stops and shutter speeds. It is more about visual communicators sharing their work, telling about what challenges them, and what inspires them.
“There is also a lot of relationship building,” Veneman, visiting professor of photojournalism at California Baptist University, added. “With the constant deadlines and the demands for producing creative, imaginative work, the media is a high-pressure occupation. This Nashville moment will also provide a time of support and encouragement.”
For more information about the Southeastern Photojournalism Conference, visit www.sepjc.com.