Cultivated from his experiences at L’Abri communities in England and Sweden, these works from Kurt Simonson document place, community, and beyond—the presence of things mystical in life’s ordinary rhythms, lived in quiet abundance. Simonson’s images are elegantly understated, poignantly simple, and disarmingly alluring. They provide respite as they draw our focus into an experience of stillness, a recognition (as recalled in Hebrew Scriptures) that God’s presence is found in a “low whisper, a thin silence.” The photographs are unburdened by complexity or the critical weight of art history. Although archival in nature, the movement of light through each image hints at the activity of the present, not energy relinquished to the past. And although no people are recorded within the photographic frames, there continues a spoor of human participation—reflection, enjoyment, work, and study—all around. There is peacefulness. And even as we sit far away from those L’Abri communities, Simonson’s photographs invite us to join in the heritage of those pilgrims who wander to shelter.
[Art by Kurt Simonson; Words by Simonson and Jen Grabarczyk]