In Confessions, Augustine wrote: “[People] go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.” Augustine held that if you want to know God, you must approach yourself as a crucial first step. God created us in God’s own image. We are God’s self-portrait, yet we each fall painfully short of God’s likeness. In my journey of contemplative photography, I’ve begun to approach introspection with this first self-portrait with others to come. They will be attempts to look behind the layered masks of my false self. Every picture you take is to some extent a self-portrait. Be aware that to place yourself in a contemplative image will by its intimacy tend to evoke emotion. Transformation, not judgement, is the goal of engaging this mystery.