Harriet Williams – an interview with self.
When you heard that the module was about your ‘Passions and Obsessions’ what made you think of Christianity and your faith?
I believe that often, the things you are passionate about become obsessions. For example, some of my other passions include working in care, photography and ice skating. However, I wanted to focus on something really close to my heart, so that I could really go deeper into the topic and produce work that was the best of my ability. Consequently, I decided to make this module about my Faith and my relationship with God. I found this a perfect opportunity to share what its really like to be a Christian and to breakdown some of the prejudices out there.
What were you trying to say about Christianity?
Through this project, I wanted to show the truth of what Christianity means to me. I want to show people that this is a relationship, not a set of rules society has made Christianity to appear. I want to show the peace I feel with God and how he helps me daily. Jefferson Bethke, an American author and YouTuber explained this very well in a video titled ‘Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.’
- “See, the problem with religion is it never gets to the core
It’s just behaviour modification, like a long list of chores
Like, ‘Let’s dress up the outside, make it look nice and neat’
But it’s funny that’s what they used to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath”
- “Because if grace is water, then the Church should be an ocean
It’s not a museum for good people – it’s a hospital for the broken
Which means I don’t have to hide my failure; I don’t have to hide my sin
Because it doesn’t depend on me; it depends on Him”
It can be very difficult to explain my faith to a person, I want to show what Jefferson said through my images.
In the book ‘An art of your own. The spiritual in twentieth century art’ by Roger Lipsey, it says “If art matters at all, it will shed light on more than itself”. I can agree with this whole heartedly.
What were your influences which inspired you to do this project?
When I thought about taking this path with my project, I began researching and talking to aquaintances, from my pastor, to family members and friends. These individuals, and the research (which was hard to come by) spurred me to pursue this project. Everyone I spoke to agreed with me that there is not enough truth in art about religion. Or at least, not from the point of view of people who have a relationship with God. There is a lot of art which shows a hatred for God and Christianity, because of bad experiences people have had in the church. This upsets me and I want to show my side of things.
Did you have an idea of what type of photography you wanted to use?
I had thought about trying out using medium format for this project, and I also had thoughts of using a Lomography camera, pin hole camera and others. The reason behind this was that I wanted to show a raw, natural element through my images and I thought that using analogue would help with this. However, eventually I came to the conclusion that using technology which was familiar to me may be more effective. There seemed to be a link between my faith being familiar and comforting and using my digital camera which is familiar to me also.