According to a BPG news release, “In 2008, Michael Belk closed his gallery and put his fashion photography career on hold to begin producing a collection of fine art photographs that would depict messages of Jesus and show His relevance in our modern world. The project, which was first published in late 2009, consists of 45 images and the ‘parable-like’ messages they depict. It has received accolades from around the world. In addition to the signed & numbered fine art prints, there is a coffee table book, behind the scenes DVD, posters and more.
“... His stunning, luminous works demonstrate his expert use of multitudes of tonalities, creating his distinctive and unique signature and style. Michael takes people on a journey with the Messiah by putting together a montage of artwork depicting Jesus in current and post-modern life settings. The project was created on the same site as the 2004 block buster movie Passion of the Christ mixing old world scenery with modern cultural pieces to create a stark contrast in each image. ... Michael says that one of his goals with these depictions was to strip away the ‘religion’ part of Christianity that has turned so many people away and share the core message.”
Along with showing images from “Journeys with the Messiah,” Belk’s program will cover the process of his project from the initial concept to selecting actors and pinpointing shooting locations in Italy to memorable anecdotes.
“These are really beautiful, beautiful prints,” said John Mariana, BPG program chairman and board member. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, OK, I did all this; I found these locations.’ But when you create images to tell a story, the most remembered images whether they’re Ansel Adams or whoever they are they do two things. One is they tell a story instantly — instantly. As soon as you see it, you are relating to it somehow in relation to what’s being told to you.
“The second is there’s an emotional reaction. You can look at beautiful images on a brochure of scenery and things and think, ‘Oh, that’s very pretty,’ but you don’t remember them unless there was some emotional reaction to them. ... So when I saw his images those two aspects came out immediately and that’s not the norm for a lot of professional photographers and even in the fashion industry [where] you’re told what to do and you have an art director who does a lot of the design and set up and you’re just there almost as a craftsman to shoot. What Michael has done is much more beyond that. And I thought, ‘Boy, it would be great for him to tell that story.’”
The lecture’s admission cost is free for BPG and/or Booth museum members and $10 for non-Booth members.
For more information about the BPG, visit www.boothmuseum.org/adults/booth-photography-guild/ or call Liz Gentry at 770-387-1300 ext. 7235.