pax vobis

pax vobis, Canon Digital Rebel

I took these two photos in a church last week and pasted them together in photoshop. “Pax Vobis” it says, or “peace to you..”

I came across this church on my way to an appointment in my neighborhood. I had passed by it dozens of times before, but this time the doors were open and something pulled me in. It was a beautiful church, and its opulence surprised me given the “hoodiness” of the hood where it’s situated.

I looked up and saw this fresco and felt like I could be anywhere- Venice, Barcelona, San Miguel de Allende. The priest {far in the back of the church} was giving a service in spanish and for a minute I imagined I had been transported, my own little time travel machine activated with every click of the camera shutter.

I think that’s the thing I appreciate most about my camera- our little adventures together. I know that I see differently when I have a camera in hand, that I see colors and their juxtopositions, that I am aware of light and shadow, of odd combinations of things in space, and I am much more likely to walk inside a church or marvel at the clouds.

I find it extraordinary really, that this funny little magic box could actually ground me in the moment. It’s as if along with it, I am also carrying the question, “What is interesting about this moment? What is beautiful or unique about this day?”

I have a friend who keeps a journal of “highlights” as she calls them. At the end of each day she asks herself what the highlight was, and then records it. I think I do this visually.

How do you do this?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. mikaelah

    today I am doing it by looking without naming … or if I name/label an experience see how it changes when I let go of the label/name and experience the place, thing, person just as it appears.
    I just started on a journey to reconnect with nature and this is the third challenge … I do one every other day or so.
    I am also looking at being present … totally … with whomever or whatever is in my space in each moment. Being with them or the moment as fully as I can. My version of being grounded without a camera. I often wish I had a camera as a way to connect. Kind of reminds me of people with dogs or kids who are welcome anywhere (just about) … as the kids, dog, camera are the connectors. Without them I have to give myself permission to do what they come by so naturally. So I see them as portals and links to my natural self.
    Thank you for taking us into the church and showing us what you saw. Your images are transporting!

  2. jack

    i do it the exact same way you do, a! i still notice things sans camera, but it’s better when i have it in hand. i walk slowly, i pause, i wait, i SEE. to me, photography makes everything so much better. every moment is precious and special. with every click i feel as if the world is mine. when i have my camera, my day is guaranteed to be more meaningful.

  3. LB

    Andrea, you always find the most magical things. Or they find you. I think it’s some combination. 🙂
    I like to document the sweet things that my husband does for me or says to me. I don’t do it daily (though he says or does precious things daily) but I just started a blog and I am wondering if it cheapens the moments/memories by sharing them with the world. Should I just keep them to myself in a little hand-written diary? Hhmmm…
    To add a silly pop culture reference… Kind of reminds me of Britney Spears recently changing her mind about selling photos of her baby after they were taken and all set to be published in People. She obviously would regret putting her baby out there for all to see. I don’t blame her. I guess she’s finally found a part of herself that she’s not willing to sell.

  4. m

    yes i do this with my lomo but when I was in oz I did a lot of drawing as well and it had the same effect of really really looking and absorbing everything.

  5. Michelle Ensminger

    Okay, I have a question, or really a comment that’s more of a question. Since starting my blog I’ve been using my camera a lot more regualarly than before. Before I would pull it out on special occassions or when I felt inspired. Now it’s with me constantly. I carry it in my bag. But I haven’t quite gotten comfortable whipping it out in public. I haven’t gotten to the place where I (a)don’t feel akward about the taking photos in public and (b) and probably more importantly, feel self-conscious about taking pictures in public places. I don’t know what the protocol is…do I ask to take a pic in a store or cafe or of someone’s front porch, etc.

  6. Jenn

    As you know I use a gratitude journal…. I think it’s the same idea. It lets me look back on each day and find good no matter what happened that day.
    I love this paiting. If I had not known better I would have assumed you took it in Italy on your honeymoon. What lovely colors and Angels. I always love Angels.

  7. Lori

    I, too, experience that sense of adventure with camera in hand. Somehow it makes me a little more alert, a little braver.
    LB, I keep both my website and a written journal, and the distinction is important to me. You have to draw that line at your own comfort level.
    And I love the idea of a highlight journal. As always, thanks for sharing, Andrea.

  8. Julia

    I carry a small sketchbook with me at all times. Then I can draw or write down what I’m feeling and seeing at the moment, to paint or journal about at length, later. I love this photo. It really does look as if you photographed it somewhere in some Rennisance era church in Europe. I really envy your gift with a camera. I am a camera-phobe with zero photography skills and I do have alot of crappy pictures (taken by yours truly) to prove it. You have such a great eye! Great post! 🙂

  9. Marilyn

    “Peace to you” reminds me of when I went to a church service around the corner awhile back. It wasn’t a good fit at ALL…but there was a young boy of maybe five in the pew in front of me. He didn’t sit still for one moment during the service…he kept moving back and forth between his little buddy’s family (in front of me) and his parents across the aisle. He colored and drew and put stickers on his shirt and pulled books out of their holding places on the back of the pew and occupied himself with all sorts of activity…I never dreamed he was remotely paying attention to the service, since he spent most of it with his back turned to the front of the church or sitting sideways in the pew. But when it came time late in the service to greet one’s neighbor, he was the first one to look up at me behind him, stick out his hand and say “Peace be with you.” I knew then that that was why I’d been drawn to that church that morning…it had nothing to do with the service or searching for a sense of community on a Sunday morning…it was just so I could experience that moment with that little boy…

  10. Carrie

    I love how you worded all of that — that your camera keeps you “grounded in the moment.”
    My method of recording my highlights is through a combination of my camera and journaling and ultimately incorporating the photos and words into my scrapbook pages. I think that’s what really drew me into that particular art / hobby — the ability to memorialize the details of my life, as I see it.

  11. Shelley Noble

    I love the depth of your observations. This one reminds me of an awareness some have of our tools and us being used as instruments for…what…unconscious?…spirit?…beingness?
    Some say the neither true swordsman nor his sword are there, as neither is the true artist nor his brush. And now, neither Andrea nor her camera.

  12. Bohemiangirl

    i love how your camera is your soul-partner. beautiful…just like you.

  13. G-Man

    I think as artists we all tend to do that. Whether a photographer, writer, musician, blogger, etc. we take the best bits from the day…even as they’re happening…and filter them through our minds and souls. And I know for a fact, we some how do it differently than others. How, I don’t know. But we do. I find too, that when i walk around with my camera, i find the real beauty in things that I’d otherwise just discard as garbage, clutter, or fluff. Suddenly with my cybershot or a drawing pad, its all about the beauty of the chaos and the amazement that the randomness of all it all has to offer.
    Thanks for the great, insightful post!
    I am

  14. Karen Winters

    I keep the moments by drawing something every day, no matter how small. Sometimes I write something to describe it, and at times I just let it stand alone. It may be serious, silly, touching or random. But I draw it, day by day.

  15. tward

    As I encounter the day, I take time to really see things, in an artfull perspective.To actually look at the shadows and subtle colors, to search out that which might otherwise be over looked. I don’t use a camera, but I recall these things in my mind for short periods of time when I’m bored or waiting in line, or have idle time. This helps me to appreciate my surroundings and how art affects our everyday lives. Sometimes I sketch these scenes so they won’t ever escape me.With or without the camera we should seek out the hidden beauty before us.

  16. Lisa

    Andrea-Thank you so much for your site. Your blog helps to reconnect me, if even a little, to a part of myself I lost too long ago- the curious, loving, inquisitive part of myself that is now buried under so much depression. I’m so grateful your heart is still so wide open. I hope I can find a way back to my own lifeline too. Thanks for sharing week after week. It makes me feel a little less alone.

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