Reflections of Light: Photography from the 2nd International Art Competition


Photographers use light to create images representing their understanding of the gospel.

Photography is the process of capturing light on film. The resulting images can be representational or they can communicate abstract ideas. For the following photographs, Latter-day Saint photographers took their inspiration from the scriptures. As a result, the images are to reflect gospel understanding.

The photographs were part of the Second International Art Competition, “Themes from the Scriptures,” sponsored by the Museum of Church History and Art. More than eight hundred Latter-day Saint artists in forty-two nations submitted artwork. From those entries, artworks were selected for awards of distinction, awards of merit, and purchase awards.

Grazing Sheep, Cache Valley

Grazing Sheep, Cache Valley Toned gelatin silver print, 1986, by Craig Law of Logan, Utah.

“I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be. … I will feed my flock, … saith the Lord God.” (Ezek. 34:14–15.)

“When I saw these sheep and made this exposure,” says Brother Law, “I felt a heightened sense of being that was so clear that it fulfilled me in a way hard to explain.”

This photograph won a Purchase Award.

Seeing My Aunt; Seeing Myself

Lucy Wright Biggs, 1892–1971: Seeing My Aunt; Seeing Myself Mixed media collage, 1990, by Jacqui Biggs Larsen of Houston, Texas.

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” (Mal. 4:6.)

“The process of collage, the piecing together of many elements to achieve a greater whole, is similar to learning about an ancestor,” says Sister Larsen. “In this piece, I looked beyond the black-and-white photographs and imagined my Aunt Lucy in color, as a complex human being. By doing so, I found a link connecting myself to my aunt.”

Holding On to the Light

Holding On to the Light: Jewish Concentration Camp Color print from transparency, 1989, by Tamra Hamblin of Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” (D&C 6:21.)

“During our lives,” says Sister Hamblin, “we feel many times as if we are in dark, solitary cells and alone, not unlike how the Jews must have felt. But if we endure and hold on to the light of Christ, we will have eternal peace.”

God Is Light

God Is Light Gelatin silver photographic print, 1988, by Francesco di Benedetto of Brescia, Italy.

“The light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” (D&C 88:11–12.)

“God is light,” says Brother Benedetto, “and man should try to attain this light.”

Company of the Spirits

Company of the Spirits Hand-colored gelatin silver print, 1990, by Brian L. Bates of Logan, Utah.

“I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great. And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality.” (D&C 138:11–12.)

“I used torn paper to construct an image of this scene described by President Joseph F. Smith,” says Brother Bates. “This is a photograph of that image.”

This photograph won an Award of Merit and a Purchase Award.

Peace in Motion

Peace in Motion Gelatin silver photographic print, 1990, by Del Benson of Henderson, Nevada.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22–23.)

“I am intrigued with the dove as an emblem of peace,” says Brother Benson. “The doves in motion symbolize this concept as a progressive journey—constant movement toward a peaceful state.”