My Modeling Career Begins…

picture-3So apparently I’m a model now.  My picture has just been featured on the InterVarsity National website on the front page  (You can also click the image on the left to get a closer look after its taken down from the website).  The picture was used in this article about InterVarsity’s role of spiritual formation to becoming a witness in student’s lives.  (It was also used earlier this year in a brochure for donors).  The funny thing is that this picture had nothing to do with this.  The article opens with a story about Jamie from Johns Hopkins University, but there is no Jamie in the picture and I certainly wasn’t in Baltimore in the last few months.  In fact, in case you’re wondering, this picture was taken at my New Staff Orientation this past summer.  We were recruited to take pictures that would be used in future InterVarsity publications.  And so my modeling career began…

The picture that is being used was totally posed.  It may look like I’m hard at work sharing the gospel with my two “friends” (so conveniently both of different ethnicity from myself), but in reality the other two folks are other new staff I just met in Madison, Wisconsin.  We’re talking about the weather I think, and the grass we’re sitting on isn’t even on a college campus, but rather in front of the State Capitol Building.

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why organizations have to do this.  A picture is worth a million words, and often its hard to get the perfect picture to say ALL the words you want it to say.  But isn’t that the problem?  That a picture is worth a million words?  I mean, what kind of words and messages are the pictures we look at saying.  Seeing my face on the front page of a national website, definitely makes me wonder how “real” the pictures we see in any publication are.  And if they aren’t real, then really what kind of message is trying to be conveyed through the picture?

I praise God that working for an organization like InterVarsity that the words we try to portray in this picture are truly values that we live on.  We are multi-ethnic.  We love scripture.  We believe God should be engaged in everyday ordinary life.  We witness.  We are about community.  etc.  But what about other organizations or companies?  The ones we don’t have the inside connections with and that we don’t really know that much about.  Do they really live up to the values and messages that they convey in their images? I mean how often do we actually sit and critically think about what the many images we see daily are actually communicating to us?  How they are shaping our values and beliefs?  How they are shaping what we desire and what we think is correct?

Anyways, I didn’t mean for this post to become a social commentary on marketing, so I will end here.  I must say though, I remember folks always talking about one of the staff in our division who’s picture has been published in InterVarsity things many many times.  I wonder if I will be seeing my face for years to come…. I’m glad I love InterVarsity so much, because I’m not getting a single cent in royalty for using this shot.  Perhaps this is the start and the end of my modeling career…

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