Fine Art Photographer Eric Christopher Jackson is a man of many talents. Part writer, part artist, each piece he creates offers a unique narrative for the audience. His series entitled ‘The Dark Light’, is not only one of his finest works, but also a great example of visual storytelling through photography. Jackson describes the ‘The Dark Light’ as “a series of self-portraits that express my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Without his description the connection with religious imagery is immediately apparent; the use of a single source of light in his images invokes a divine presence in his pictures.
“Too often, I feel like Christianity is misrepresented. The heart of it is lost in debates, politics, and personal preferences. It’s difficult to start a conversation about what I believe without inciting an argument. Art is a great way to talk about any subject without using words. Viewers have time to digest what they are looking at. There is a delay, a time to “think” before a response. This Series is meant to reveal what Christianity is to me.”
In one of the images, the subject has their hands cupped together in a way which is reminiscent of the stained glass portraits found in cathedrals around the world. The use of light and shadow spell out the age old struggle between the good and bad within man. Whether it’s a battle over a man’s soul, or simply the conscience of a man fighting over an important decision, there is always a struggle within all of us.
“I used a single strobe light. Along with the added negative space in the composition, it represented the presence of God. I was inspired by one of the album covers of Seal, which accentuated the form of his body. It was interesting to see how the light fell on me in various positions. Each emotion conveyed is helps show a three-dimensional perspective of the Christian life. It’s important to see a believer as a human being.”
If you were to take a look at art within a historical context, the majority of it was influenced in large part, by religion. Art was an extension of spiritual beliefs of cultures worldwide and art as personal expression is quite frankly, a recent phenomenon. Yet today, art devoid of religion is common and celebrated whereas art derived from religious beliefs is frowned upon. The backlash towards religious based artwork occurred within the Rococo period in response to the strict artistic guidelines enforced within the baroque period. These anti-religious sentiments continued and it became harder for artists to express their spiritual beliefs within their work. The art community is largely a liberal one and I find that Jackson’s work is approachable and inviting. His work is largely subtle, drawing on common knowledge to produce a narrative when viewing his work.
“People who are not Christians, some who even dislike religion, have given me positive responses on this project. My main focus was to make sure the quality of the Series could be respected by viewers. In the very least, I wanted people to say that the work is done well aesthetically. Each scene has to grab a stranger’s attention and elicit a strong, emotional response whether they agree with the message or not. I am confident that this has been accomplished.”
Jackson’s work is fundamentally important; his photography aims to bring Christianity (and possibly religion as a whole) beneath a spotlight where people from all walks of life can understand it. The artistic community needs to be a mix of people all of whom hold different perspectives. Conservative. Liberal. Religious. Atheist. It matters not. Art is an expression of the soul and Jackson’s beliefs shine through his work with impressive substance.
“I have heard that only the weak-minded believe in God. Only those who need a crutch trust in Jesus and worship a God that does not exist. My goal is to ground this faith in reality.”
Eric Christopher Jackson is an artist and writer originally from South Florida. His artwork is influenced by cinematography, interior design, and fine art. Eric’s writing features poetry, short stories, and screenplays.
His first book of poetry, “The Beginning of Me”, is featured on the cover of the November 2013 Issue of Publisher’s Weekly Select. On November 26, 2013, Eric was selected as one of the Featured Authors of the Week on BookWooks.com
His photography has been exhibited in small galleries. The goal is to improve and expand the reach of this work through books and art exhibitions.