Alyssa Ence never planned to create a photo series on the Savior.
But after a series of undeniable events, she knew that it was what she was called to do.
Alyssa is a photographer based in Richfield, Utah where she lives with her husband and two boys. She is one of seven artists SALT Summit is featuring in their event workbook. Alyssa’s featured art is a photo from her recent series, He Lives Christ Series.
Alyssa shared with the SALT team a little about the experiences that led to recreating scenes of the Savior’s life. Ultimately, it was the quiet whisperings of the Spirit that led Alyssa and her beautiful photography to SALT this year.
I have always loved expressing myself through the arts. I have always loved drawing and singing as I was little, and found myself loving to look at photos. In high school, I had the opportunity to take a film class and I fell in love with watching something be stopped in time and kept as a keepsake. I loved watching the film develop from nothing and watching something I'd create or see in my head, come to life.
Feeling the call to do the Christ series came in orchestrated grace from God. I had always wanted to do a Christ series, but I never felt ready nor did I feel like I had the right model. I had an opportunity fall into my lap of photographing a family with Gabe (the Christ model) and I could tell it was all a gift from God and we needed to pursue more series.
When I prepare for a shoot I spiritually have to prepare. I have to be at the peek of my spirituality so you can feel the spirit through the photos. I study Christ's life. His attributes, His miracles, and how He makes others feel. I pray that I can be guided and directed by God and that I can bring others to Him and our Savior and we pray before our shoots as well. Not only am I spiritually preparing, but the model, Gabe was too. You can feel the spirit emulate through Gabe.
Spiritually I have been changed completely by my Christ series. I have grown to love the Savior so much more and the impact that He has in my life. I also have had the opportunity to go around and speak about my life-changing experiences I've had through my Christ series, and it's been a really incredible opportunity.
I hope my art is an extension of my Savior's love that I've felt from Him. I wanted to make it known that He lives and is there to love and comfort us in every aspect of our lives if we just let Him in.
Right from the beginning things lined up so I could be spiritually prepared for this opportunity to happen to be able to start this series.
Something happened where I lost 3000 photos for a big event for a company and I was devastated. [At the time] I was just caught up in working and everyday life and wasn't doing the little things that I should be, such as prayer and scripture study. I wasn't the best version of myself. As I lost the SD card, I had an "ah ha" moment that hit me that I needed to give more time to the Lord.
I started praying, fasting, and reading the scriptures more diligently. After a week of searching and praying, and literally being physically ill from losing the photos, I found the SD card sitting in the bottom of my washer. I had checked there previously dozens of times and washed loads of laundry. When I saw it I panicked thinking it would be corrupted, but EVERY SINGLE photo was there. I knew I was being blessed.
In the middle of this process, I got an email from a mother asking me to do a project for her that she felt so impressed that only I could do it. She wanted me to do photos of her children with a Christ-model. It was her best friend's son. I had seen some photos of Christ-model's like this before and I was pretty turned off to the idea, but something had me curious and I felt like I needed to say yes.
Little did I know that by losing this SD card, it was God preparing me spiritually for what was going to take place that day. He was helping me be able to be in the right kind of mind-frame and spirit to be guided by Him and to bring His children closer to Him through my talent.
I have had many other incredible experiences that have brought me down to my knees in gratitude that I have been blessed with a way to be an instrument in our Heavenly Father's hands.
I personally have had many testimonies saying that a certain photo is exactly what they needed during a specific trial they were going through and it's brought them closer to Christ and it helps me know that we all need Christ in a different way at different times in our lives. I hope that people can have comfort and peace and Hear Him in the way that they need to through the image that touches their hearts.
God has given everyone specific talents for us to excel in and bring specific people to God or back to God through them. Don't hide your talents, and don't just use them for worldly aspects, because when you do use them for the way God intended you to you will turn into the person who you're meant to become. When I look at these photos I don't feel like I took them. I know that I was personally chosen for this and to utilize my talent in the way I was supposed to and I hope it makes everyone find their talent and use it to help others Hear Him.
Alyssa is hoping to add more images to her series and hopes to one day publish a book of all the images in the series. She is currently working on an online art gallery that gives further insight into the story behind each photo.
Register today at www.saltgathering.com for tickets to the SALT Summit, where we will be featuring a photo from Alyssa’s He Lives Christ Series titled “He Lives.”
You can see more of Alyssa’s work at her website, www.alyssaencephotography.com and you can see more photos from the He Lives Christ Series on Instagram at @heliveschristseries