The Contemplative Prophetic Photography of a Priest in a Post Modern World
The Photography of Wilfredo Benitez-Rivera
More and more I am experiencing the power of a picture to thrust the viewer into a different state of mind, into the eternal, into the infinite and universal, into the archetypal and the mysterious. The real miracle in this is that it happens in a fraction of a second. A picture has the power to touch something within us, a feeling, a yearning, or an emotion that has no need of words and finds no comfort in explanations. Indeed a picture has the power to make us pause and take note of a deeper reality, a deeper truth, a deeper essence, a deeper mystery (partially revealed) of our journey in life. Moving beyond the sublime and transcendent, pictures also have the power to denounce social injustices, oppression, and inequalities; alas they can also have a chaotically prophetic dimension that harmonizes with all of the elements I mention above.
When taking pictures I now find myself hoping to capture that moment where time stands still, and we are thrust into the core of our deepest reality, which is an enduring quality, a form of truth that is mystical in its content and
grabs hold of the viewer, regardless of the photographic theme, why put limits on this?
Reverend Wilfredo Benitez-Rivera has been taking photographs for about 25 years. His pictures are an intimate part of who he is. For Benitez, photography has become a sort of spiritual companion and practice that started to work its magic some years ago back in the early 70’s. However, it has only been in the last few years that it has really taken hold of him, demanding his attention. At age 16, in 1972 Wilfredo took a photography course at the old New York Institute of Photography. During the early 80’s he studied privately under the tutelage of Puerto Rican photographer, Nestor Cortijo. Since then he has been mostly self taught. His passion for photography has reawakened with a vengeance in the last five years. Photography has become for Wilfredo a means of seeing beyond seeing, a journey of revelation beyond the ordinary and the mundane, an exploration of the power of life in all its beautiful and chaotic manifestations.
About the Artist: Wilfredo Benitez-Rivera is a frequent contributor the the Art Blog and the current rector of St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal (Anglican) Church, in Garden Grove, California. He is actively involved in interfaith peace and justice work. He writes, “When taking pictures I now find myself hoping to capture that moment where time stands still, and we are thrust into the core of our deepest reality, which is an enduring quality, a form of truth that is mystical in its content and grabs hold of the viewer, regardless of the photographic theme, why put limits on this? ” See more of his work here.