On Baptised by Blood (Part 1)

I did what I set out to do, and I did it really well. So why do I feel so lost?

Finishing a project of this magnitude feels like a break up. It’s exciting and consuming, and then all of a sudden it’s over. All of a sudden there is nothing. There is nothing left to occupy my thoughts and my heart. After a breakup, one is left piecing a broken heart back together, rubbing fingers along the sharp edges to feel the intensity of the pain which seems to lend value of the now broken relationship.

With art the pain is similar, but there is completion. Something whole and real has been extracted from my soul for all to see. In my minds eye it looks like a giant, sharp piece of obsidian that’s been painfully pulled from my center leaving me empty and breathless. I look at the photos and reread my thesis in the same way one traces the raw edges of a broken heart. I want to feel the weight of it in my chest again, the emptiness hasn’t brought the relief I expected.

I was asked to write a reflection on Baptised by Blood, but I just can’t do it. Not yet. It’s too close. I am still too stunned.

What I can say is that I set out on an academic pursuit to find a space between art and religious practice. I think I found it. I set out to make work that is intelligent but accessible. I did that. I set out to raise the money to make a huge installation happen. We did that. I set out to make work that is personal and honest and painful and sacrificial. I gave it everything.

My hope now is that it was worth it. That it brought joy and honor to the Father. That it started conversation and interest and thought. And that somehow, someway that project will pave the way for future projects.

(Photos from the installation will be live on CaseyMacKenzie.co.uk this week.)

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Wedding: Ben & Ambler

Photographing Ambler & Ben’s Sacred Day at The Farm at Putah Creek was an absolute pleasure. Ambler is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I have always admired her work ethic, her relationship with her (fabulous) family and her genuine, caring spirit. Ben is cool, too. (Really, though, I adore him. So does my dog, Stella.)

Before I get to sounding too Hallmark, let me say that The Maugerstein Wedding (a hybrid of their last names) was the hottest wedding I’ve ever shot. The weather in the Valley hovered around 105 all afternoon and I was working on a badly sprained ankle. A recipe for misery? Not this time. Nothing in the world could have distracted from all the love and joy of this union. I swear I am not exaggerating. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to be asked to capture Ben & Ambler’s Sacred Day. I would do it a hundred times over given the chance.

Once my three hours shooting time was up, I morphed into a wedding guest. Awesome! I got to eat and dance the night away with friends and family from all over the world. At the end of the night, after the band packed up to go, they served (absolutely, positively, delectable) home made French onion soup around a bonfire. Perfection. (I ate three bowls.) At the end of the end of the night all the wedding guests piled into busses to go back to their hotels in Davis… who jumped in the car to hitch a ride with me? Why, the Bride & Groom, of course. Perfect.

the beautiful bride

first look…

the gorgeous couple

Did I mention the food was to DIE for? Cause it was.

1am and piled in the back of my little Jetta. Love it!

Haiti Benefit Concert

The Haiti Benefit Concert was a smashing success!!! I am awed, amazed and beyond blessed by the outpouring of love, prayer and money by my community. You guys are awesome! We raised about $1400 for J/P HRO (not counting online donations- which you can make by following that link!).

The night honestly could not have been better! We had an awesome turnout- Parchments was packed! The bands were amazing (no surprise!)… it was a great night and fun was had by all.

And I’m off.

Tonight my best friends (minus Emily and two Daniels) gathered with me to pray me out to Haiti. I am so deeply blessed to have such a loving and solid community that I deeply love, that deeply loves me and the honors God in all things. Thank you Jesus. And thank you to all of you who are praying. I love you all.