This past Friday I had the opportunity to photograph one of my personal heroes, Greg Boyd. A few weeks ago when I saw that he was going to be in Toronto, I emailed him to see if I could “grab a quick portrait.” He responded that he had “no idea what it means to grab a quick portrait,” but said if it was important to me, he’d be honoured. Greg is a leading thinker, prolific author, passionate speaker, and is considered one of North America’s most prominent and influential theologians. When he speaks, his gregarious personality shines through and his words are constantly trying to keep up with his rapid fire thoughts. He talks about Jesus’ Kingdom with the same excitement and fervour as Neil DeGrasse Tyson talking about stars and planets. There have been so many times over the past few years while listening to Greg when I’ve had an “aha!” moment — his ideas about open theism (God leaving things open to possibilities), the myth and false promises of an American Christian nation, and the lens through which he understands the violent depictions of God in the Old Testament. In short, Greg is a personal hero because he is passionately leading a “Kingdom” movement that looks like Jesus, filled with compassion, empathy, love, peace-making, and acceptance … and that is how I strive to live my life every day.
It was a great experience for me as a portrait photographer. I’ve only experienced Greg via his podcasts and videos online, where he has a big personality and is very animated, so I was a little bit surprised to find that he is much more low key in person. When he got in front of the camera, one of the first things he said to me was, “I’ve never enjoyed having my picture taken,” and then moments later, he commented, “I’ve never understood why photographers take so many pictures when you just need to kinda take [makes a camera motion] one picture.” The funny thing is that this photo is the very first frame of our short session. I guess Greg was right; I really just needed to click the shutter once and be done with it. 😁