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Person: Taylor Powers
I’m a portrait photographer who grew up in Colorado. I live in Denver with my husband Alex.
As I read through Psalm 76, two words stuck with me every time: humbled and stunned. The people mentioned in the Psalm seem to be the greatest of mankind: kings, princes, and men of war. The greatest of men, the greatest of us, were humbled and stunned, unable to stand in the presence of God. I really wanted to create an image that captured the feeling of being both fearful and reverent at once. I could relate to being humbled and stunned, because it reminded me of spending time in prayer while in the mountains. Whenever I spend time in the mountains, I feel small. Not small in a bad or insignificant way, but in a way that puts me in my place, so to speak. It’s scary and comforting. It reminds me of how incredible and wonderful God’s creation is, and it’s always given me clarity and perspective.
The title of Psalm 76, “Who Can Stand Before You,” became the literal idea behind this image. With my image, I wanted to capture that feeling of being stunned and humbled by something much greater than yourself, to the point that you can’t even stand before it. I wanted to capture a surrender. My goal was to put a physical sense of scale of the mountains being that much greater than man, and God being that much greater than “the mountains of prey”. I hope that this image is seen as a man not praying to or worshiping a mountain, but instead being overcome by his smallness in its midst. If the mountains are this much greater than the greatest of mankind, and God is that much greater than the mountains, how can we not be humbled? How can we even stand before Him?
I knew I wanted to get as close to the mountains as possible, preferably at sunrise. My husband (the man in the photo, who was a trooper) and I camped in Rocky Mountain National Park so we would get to this spot for the sunrise. The color and the light of sunrise in the mountains always seems much more jarring and harsh than the softness of a sunset. We hiked around and tried a few different spots, which didn’t work as well. On our way back to the car I found this spot and this was the last photo I took of the series.