Next Step Ministries

It was late in the evening when my phone buzzed twice. I looked down, smiling as I saw the name. My former employer from Next Step Ministries was wondering if I had time to chat, so I quickly picked up the phone and dialed her number.

She said she had been following my Instagram page and had noticed how much my photography had changed. Over the past month I’ve been re-inventing it to showcase my best work, and it had been noticed. Even though I live six hours away, my former boss wanted to know if I could shoot a photo that represents life coming from death.

The weather was terrible, so my original thought of having a silhouette of a person walking out from the shadows into the light wasn’t going to work. As I lay in bed that night a single phrase from Isaiah 61:3 popped into my mind: Beauty for Ashes.

That morning I went outside and got to work. I burned piles of papers collected over the past year of press releases and information pamphlets in a glass jar. I went to the store and bought dainty white flowers beautifully arranged into a bouquet, just ready to be destroyed by my project. Taking scissors I cut off two small bunches, cut an X into a business card, put the stems through and taped them secure so that they would stand upright (truly creative, right?).

I cleaned off my black table, put the flower stand on it and covered it in ashes. I brushed any small pieces of ash from the flowers so they could really pop. Then I pulled out the speedlite.

Using a speedlite, umbrella stand, radio transmitters, my Canon 5D Mark III and 50mm lens, I was able to put this photo together. A flower blooming from ashes.

Isaiah 61:3: To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

Isaiah 61:3: To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

Another perspective:

Beauty For Ashes