Tag Archives: photography

It’s not a standard practice for a pot of clay to ask it’s potter, “Give me Vision”. I place a constant pressure on myself to create because it’s what I love, sometimes how I love and it’s how I think. Its ingrained in me to tell stories visually. I create films in a way that is growing with the vision he is giving me, which isn’t always clear and that makes me go crazy sometimes.  I’m learning that my perspective varies from my to eternal in an instant when I am reminded of the promises and makings held in certain faith.

I am in an incredible season of testing. The test centers around letting go of my life list of things I would change.  The list isn’t even worth going into but I wanted to explain how today was a blessing in reminding me where to place my hope and how the placement of my hope determines my attitude in my situation. I really want to be joyful no matter what.

No call is clearer that what he reminded me of today, “God crafts amazingness from my brokenness. He actually uses my brokenness to make amazing things. He makes all things work together for my good.”

I expect challenges in my life. I also expect the success from God and the variety of ways that success will come in. I am not only willing to step into this season knowing it will produce endurance and fruit but am encouraged and empowered as I keep stepping through this season as I see my flesh wage war.  I believe it is a good thing to see the battle between flesh and spirit.

It is impossible to be physically or emotionally ready or prepared for a season like this but, leaning one foot forward, equipped I become through the ever present inheritance found in Jesus’ promises. But that step isn’t so clear sometimes. I try so hard to interpret where God wants me to go next. Each time the lengths of my worry begot illogical thinking. And for some reason I am surprised.

“You will lack nothing” he reminded his disciples and me. “When I sent you out without food, clothing or money, did you lack anything?” The disciples and I answer, “No.”  I was sent to my wife. I lack nothing. I was sent to Detroit. I lack nothing. The list continues.

Yet, even with this knowledge, sometimes I desire to see around each infliction. It shakes me and I want a quick self made way out. I look for motto, “I feel like I should be happy all the time”. Fakeness sucks.

Today I had four moments where I felt like I lacked. Each moment was quickly rendered false; one by the truth of his word, one by the power of testimony from my amazing wife who told me about what she learned in church, one by wisdom from my awesome brother in London, one by prayer backed by remembering what he has already spoken.

David sang entire songs about his despair and had verses reminding his soul to place it’s hope in the Lord. Psalm 42, 43. Read it.

vs 3. Tears are saying, “where is your God? Tears have been my food day and night.” Man that dude is sad. At that time he was asking for a savior. The difference with us, is that we have one. All justification, peace, love, identity and wholeness is found in him.

Psalm 42, 43 personalized/interpreted by my words and the words of Pastor Cliff at Woodside Detroit:

I am asking for water that gives life and you wash over me with water so powerful that it brings death by a drowning so significant the calendar shifted when it happened.  In his steadfast love, I live like I need less death and more love.  I live crying out, “Please show me your love”.  Instantly overwhelmed by circumstance my rock seems to have forgotten me. Emotional pain. Why is my soul forgetting the truth i can recite at any given moment. Fight for me God! I’m trying to live for you and create for you and love for you and live for you. I am trying so hard to make my identity in the sent Savior you gave me. Save me!

His waters quiet and whisper, “I have”.

Where is He!

HE is Here. God has Him here.

The past year and half has brought a new understanding to me: God loves us enough to allow us to go through things to show us what our hope is in. My hope was in soooooo many things that weren’t Him. His grace has revealed that and now has broken those chains.

After his awesome sermon, which pissed a ton of people off but made Jesus stand while at the right hand of his Father, Stephen was taken to be killed. Looking up, through his oppressors throwing stones at his head, past his critics, with un approval all around him, with grace and thanksgiving and peace, he declared, in the most un oportune time possible, “Forgive them God, they don’t know what they are doing.”

Thats legit. What pain do I have? Why down oh my soul? God so good.

We will not be free of pain and suffering in this life time but we are free from the slavery to pain and suffering with the knowledge that all pain and suffering will be abolished at the coming of Jesus.

Thus, after reading the word today, praying, listening to the faithfulness of my wife’s love for God, listening to wise men talk about Jesus in my community, I can say this, “The vision I have is for now and in this now, Christ is working” and with patience given to me I will press on and wait for him to pull me out of this test I am in with Him by my side.

May I encourage you to place all your hope and justification not in what you can do but in the already finished work of Jesus Christ. The rescue Jesus offers will promote a performance in your life unmatched by what is possible in all possible human achievement.

Now, at the end of this day I can see that everything that is fighting against my soul is illuminated by the Spirit who reveals that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Not only where I am supposed to be, but that my life isn’t about me, but is about serving others bc that is how Jesus lived.

Nothing, no critique, no affirmation , no anger, no words, no aggression, no film, not even the sweetest frame has any saving or destroying power.

The vision will come.

And in other news, Be honest and patient with your clients.

Below are photos of children and orphans in Ukraine who have been left by the government to raise. They make up the majority of the crime and human trafficking victims. It’s important to remember such peoples while the rest of the world watches the Eurocup down the street.

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During Stephen McGee Films shoot

During our interview with Naomi Long for Kresge Arts in Detroit I used the same camera I was shooting the interview with to snap a quick portrait. I toggled the setting on the back of the 5d Mark II to my black and white mode and took this shot. I love Naomi Long's poetry and love for other poets.

“This just in!!!! Detroit photographer and cinematographer Stephen McGee unveils new website showcasing his ten years of reportage photography and short films and it encourages people to document the world around them to help others and educate “.

Well, Thats what I hope the headlines will say but for now I just wanted to share with the few people that read my blog that my new site is being launched today. I am still making modifications and adding Portfolios with old work.

You can visit the site here…

I will also start posting my creative process as I finish my 96th film for Kresge Arts in Detroit.

All while learning more about my faith and where I belong in this visual world. Would love to know what you think!

plans fall like the rain in spring. I sometimes expect God to work in the excitement of amazing possibility. When the jobs fall through though God is there and he is telling me that they didn’t “fall through”, they are going according to plan, my plan. I have lost four large jobs this year that I “should” have had. One was going to take me from China to India to South Africa to Argentina. Another, was going to take me to India and yet another was going to take me to Kenya. And most recently I was asked to come over to London to live for one month, with my brother, and take four day trips around Europe shooting beautiful films. I tried so hard for that one to happen, my client, an amazing man I met in London while praying aloud, really wanted me to come over to work with him. All was in the clear, even a great budget, and then we realized 7 days before I was going to leave that I didn’t have a work visa. At that moment I was disappointed even though I had been praying through it. But praise God that my flesh was overcome by the Spirit and my joy was restored when the Lord reminded me of his faithfulness by saying, if your goals aren’t my goals and you are following me, then your goals shouldn’t be working out. At that moment like the spring rains I realized I was being restored from a moment of back faced to God faith.

I had an amazing day yesterday. I continued photographing at the boxing gym that is up the street from me located in a pretty crazy neighborhood. The lead guy is a role model for the kids. More to come later. See sample videos on my page.

11 of my 50 photography journals that Cathy and I created with inspirational quotes and field notes from my travels were sold at a market in Vietnam.

My nephew and I were photographed and printed in the Detroit News (–microbrewery)

I humbly photographed a funeral of detroit baseball announcer/legend, ernie harwell.

I sent out my VII Photo portfolio with an emphasis on video! Pray for that and the reception of my work amongst the 11 very respected and skilled photographers who will review it.

I went out to meet this singer named Chris from Never Shout Never cause he wants to do films around the world with me and I with him and this other guy Russ Hubley who is awesome from Portland. it was crazy to see that many people singing his songs and then I walk downstairs right after the show, having never met him, (an 18 year old who got kicked out of high school and toured the country selling hundreds of thousands of singles by himself. then got signed to warner bros). I walked into a small cement room and he said, “i am a fan of your work”. we chilled for 3 hours and then I drove him to Taco Bell and ordered 42 dollars flat of tacos for all the busses. Drove back and watched the Mummy Returns which was horribly bad.
I love what I do. “Not many people can live like we do” a friend named Russ told me. I live the way I do Trusting the Lord will work. I think more people should have less jobs that structure their life accordingly especially if they are just in it for providing for themselves a lifestyle they admire.

I walk out of my condo’s front door, with joel, kidd rock and his manager walk in, with a sales lady, and I continue with joel to his car. I have made joel 45 minutes late already, “But kidd rock is walking into my building looking for a house”.
“Joel, I have to do something”.
Joel and I walk back into my building and go up to my 7th floor condo. Kidd is on the 8th floor looking at the best condo open for the market.
I stage joel at the elevator and I go into my house to look for my last biz card. I peak out, “Has the elevator moved?” Nope.
My last biz card was found and Joel and I were at the elevator door. “What are we waiting for?’
“Like clockwork, The elevator will go up, I will click the down button, and we will be in the elevator with Kidd Rock, in my house. But we are only going to wait 5 minutes.
Four minutes later the elevator warms up and goes up one floor. My heart rate escalates, but I keep it cool.
I hear the door open up a floor above mine ,”Like Clockwork” I mention to Joel again, and proceed to click the button to go down.
The elevator stopped and opened up to my floor and there was Kidd Rock, with his agent.
Joel and I went in.
I looked across at Kidd Rock and said, “We have mutual friends”.
“Oh really?”
“Yeah, Clay Patrick McBride. (kidd rocks prime photographer/awesome dude), We taught a workshop together in NY a few years back”.
Kidd looked at me with a smile because him and Clay are good friends.
The elevator was almost to the ground when I said, ” I actually shot your wedding too”.
Kidd looked at me and said ” That was a good time”.
“Yeah, I said, it peaked for me when I was hanging at a table with you and Bob Seager”.
He reached out his hand and introduced himself as Bob.
I am Stephen McGee, nice to meet you again. I said.
We walked out to the car and I asked him if I could give him my card. He said yes. I told him “I do music videos, well not really, I do documentaries, but you probably already have someone”.
“No we always are looking for local talent.”
“Well” I ended,” thanks for being such a advocate for Detroit”.
“No, Thank you,” He ended.

It has been proven to me that I am protected by God’s grace.  In Ukraine my cell phone was stolen and I did not fret. 2 hours later the criminal “felt bad” and sought me out and returned it. Two days ago my computer was stolen out of my hotel room without me knowing it. I left at 10 am and the criminal came in while the cleaning lady was present, stated he was me and took my computer and my passport. My entire Chinese project was on this computer. I received a call from the police saying that they had my computer, and that they had the criminal too. I said, “Why?” I did not freak out, at all. I had no even thought that i needed to stay calm. Two hours later after the criminal took my computer  he was caught trespassing in another hotel trying to sell the computer. Two hours later. Without me even knowing it was taken and returned. I did not get to meet either criminal. As I left the SF police station I told the policeman to tell the criminal that I forgave him and wasn’t angry but wanted him to know that God loved him.

I can not answer why God’s protection and provision looks like it does or when it works or how to obtain it. I can proclaim though that it is active without our effort or participation more often than some would like to think and it is most relevant to our understanding and noticeable in our ways when out into the world we, our soul steps and in the will of God then we, our soul found.

Jesus is the least of these so what am I to me? What are my possessions or my purpose? If I am passing prophets (without the time to talk for they are good without me) for the purpose of the Lords will in my life, than not only do I mimic the zealousness of the early disciples who wouldn’t give time to the poor asking for Jesus’ healing, but I make given plans more important than given purpose.

Don’t be frightened, dont be scared, this calling is for you.

At Grace Cathedral in San Francisco I began to write this message and I was reminded of two stories as my eyes closed, present, and open to the sounds of the youth choir i used to sing in echoing against the stone pillars. The youth choir live in between peaks falsetto and the troughs of the pipe organ.  Two stories about two friends I have met in my travels where God’s protection was present but did not look as “successful” as a returned cell phone or computer.

I am reminded that I have met others whose life in faith has shown protection that looked different. There were Elijah and Isaiah. My friend Elijah in Uganda saw his father get assassinated before presidential elections as a 13 year old. In the following minutes his family was killed as he ran into the jungle. His father was the rebel leader who overthrew Abote. For three days Elijah hid in dead bodies left in a pile in his town. When he got up he was taken into custody by child soldiers and fought with them for five years. An uncle recognized him and bought him out of that army. Two years later after being saved in flesh he was saved in spirit and is now pastoring in Kampala.

Isaiah, a pastor in Angola who was teaching both sides of the war about the Lord, sent his family to the market along his routine route one day so he could finish some activity during the war in 2002. That day someone had placed explosives in the road to assassinate Isaiah. The family didn’t come home and that day Isaiah had to pick up his family with the help of my other friend.

Mark 5 has been my “status” inside along with Romans and God’s personal gifting of vision and purpose.  Friends, the Lord has revealed to me something, not more than words can say, actually not words at all, but he has revealed to me an attitude of heart. There aren’t words with the attitude of heart.

We can’t expect to hold the knowledge of who needs Jesus. As the disciples were blinded by the mission of Jesus when the two blind men asked for help I am blinded when I relate the troughs and peaks with my strengths and my weak.  If you weigh measures of the Lord in possibility, then you leave yourself with room for doubt. Possibility doesn’t prove existence.  God’s love can’t be replicated. Prepare to be interrupted by the Lord while on the road to the Lord’s work.

I don’t currently own a working or complete pair of flip flops.

Welcome to my blog. I am a filmmaker and photographer. I currently have a head ache. I love Detroit, and well, now that my video is out, many Detroiter’s have expressed that they don’t love me or my video. Most people consider word choice more than meaning. Too few actually acquire the freedom to photograph. To photograph what comes along the way is to be living with a camera in hand. What am I but just another chamber of Detroit’s orchestra.  In my city, Shooting only adds to the music. Passing prophets for your purpose makes your works more than your meaning.

When you find your name on Michael Moore’s homepage, that is when you know you have done something polar. The Wall Street Journal purchased my content and my story on a dump truck that was hanging forever out of a fourth floor window at the Packard Plant and ran it front page in today’s paper. An editor told me it was the first time ever a photographer had pitched a story to the WSJ that they ran.  I am interested in telling my side of the story.

I just returned from doing a film series in China on the renewable energy sector to show to Congress/the Obama administration when I learned that this story was actually going to be in the WSJ. Not only in, but on the front page. If I didn’t have to edit all day tomorrow, I would tell you more about China, More about how I got to the actually film/photograph this dump truck event, and how my laptop with all my china work on it was stolen in SF today, only to be returned in 2 hours. Maybe more tomorrow.

PS. I am available for freelance work in Detroit/the world.

     Local empty store front advertising real store with cardboard cutouts of a pig and sausage, a few boxes of cardboard cheese and cardboard milk. This was placed to show what Detroit could be with investment.

Photography this week; Local empty store front advertising real store with cardboard cutouts of a pig and sausage, a few boxes of cardboard cheese and cardboard milk. This was placed to show what Detroit could be with investment. Below; on the set of Red Dawn.

My Story comes out tomorrow in the New York Times about the pro life movement here in Michigan. It is the work I am most proud of because it was three days of quick photography, daily deadlines and lots of car travel. I think 7 different locations. The hardest part was my new macbook pro failed. And my backup computer failed. And the model the mac store gave me to replace failed (thanks Snow Leopard). 3667 images for the story. Damien Cave, the writer, was awesome enough to let me transmit from his computer, while he was typing the story.

It will be a lens blog, listed below, a audio slideshow and a photo story in the paper.

The Lens Blog is a blessing to me because it was unexpected. I will write more later. Right now, off to prayer.

Damien, a writer for the New York Times, holds a white board while my photo subject holds a photograph she took of an aborted baby. Make Shift photo studio.

Damien, a writer for the New York Times, holds a white board while my photo subject holds a photograph she took of an aborted baby. Make Shift photo studio.

On a side note, it has been a most amazing day today. Rainy, which hindered the tempers of the children who were going to fight. I did not photograph any fight today nor did i see any police.

I met the president of a camera case company last year on a plane. He saw my crappy camera bag and told me he would send me a new one from his company. A year later I have nothing but that is cool with me. But I figured I would call the company and find out if the offer was still there. So I did, I explained everything. The company said that the guy was no longer with the company but that they would send out a bag of my choice. I sent them two examples of the bags totally a lot of money that I was going to buy and I received an email back that both bags would be in the mail for me for free.

All I can say is that when God has something for you to do, he equips.

I also thank Daryl Lang and PDN for getting my story about yesterday out to the other photogs out there.

Red Dawn set