"God is at Eye Level" is a beautiful book--a moving book. Here Jan Phillips discusses the healing effect of photography on the personal and sociological levels. The design, photographs, quote-selections, and lucid writing are artfully woven together to produce an evocative read.
Several sub-themes radiate, all reinforced with illuminating quotes from famous artists and thinkers. Among my favorite themes is the relevance of "the moment," or "the present." As Jan says, when embarking on an "excursion of seeing, the rest of one's life is temporarily on hold. There is nothing to reckon with but the moment at hand." When anchored in the present, one's regrets and fears tend to dissolve. You are treated with a "sweet joy" and the healing nature of a "now" orientation.
Your photographs reflect who you are. As a result, you can discover as much about seeing inside yourself as the world outside. When you go out and shoot, Jan says, "honor your instincts, for the images that result are like clues to a treasure hunt," symbols which later tell you who you are, where you've been, and where you are going.
Jan tries to develop a relationship with everyone she photographs. She strives to achieve empathy with all her subjects. For her, the relationship comes first. Her portraits grow out of this closeness and express the intimacy from which they emerge. As a result, a portrait reflects the authenticity of a person's spirit.
Jan discusses the healing influence photography has upon society. She cites several photographers whose work evoked a national response and encouraged social reform. Among others, Jan includes the work of Dorothea Lange (migrant farmers) and Laura Gilpin (Navajos).
And lastly, many photographers wait until they are inspired before they go shooting. Jan says that for her, inspiration comes while working, not before it. The key is to start working, then discover while underway. Once you do, you will experience the healing nature of photography.