Images Of Hope
Leigh Jamison is an artist who thinks in pictures. Her childhood memories are filed away in photo albums that are stored in a closet at her mother’s home. As a photographer she sees things that others might miss: deeper meaning in the ordinary aspects of life. Her speech is marked with vibrant color.
“It’s interesting to look back over the journey of my life. Photography was a part of my family for many years. I was the girl that was always taking pictures for fun or for the yearbook. I loved to give people the doubles. I’d come back from camp and develop my pictures on the way home, just so I could have them to send out to my friends the next day.”
Leigh grew up in a Christian home and the influence of missionaries in her home and at her church was reinforced by Leigh’s experiences at her Christian school. “Each year our school went to the Missions Fest conference for the Friday School Field Trip. My Mom and I would stay for the whole weekend, and at the end of it I would bring a bag full of brochures that I’d gathered and spread them out dreaming about all of the places I’d like to go to.”
“As a teenager I remember sitting in my room when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I had an atlas underneath my study notes and I would be looking up all of the places where I knew people were working, looking at the places where I dreamed I would one day visit.”
It was at a special training session that Leigh was given a glimpse of how and where God would use her.
“What do you have in your hand?” Darlene Cunningham, wife of YWAM founder Loren Cunningham, was speaking to a group of students. “Moses grasped a staff as he stood before the burning bush and a young shepherd boy named David stood before a giant with five smooth stones in his hand. God used their sparse resources to accomplish his purposes. God wants to use whatever you have in your hand if we will offer it up to Him to transform it, whether it is a weapon or a tool. What does God want to use in your life?”
Leigh went away from that meeting asking herself, “God, what do I have in my hand?” It was as if there was a still, small voice that spoke into her soul. “A camera.”
“I came to understand that creativity could have a place in missions, that God could use it for more than just giving pictures to my friends. As I did my technical training, I learned to develop my art with the heart of Christ: asking how to best use my skill as a ministry tool.”
Living in a nation that is closed to traditional missionaries, Leigh has been acknowledged as an award-winning photographer. Her pictures have been exhibited in a national gallery and are celebrated in local cafes of her community.
When she explains that she is a photographer, Leigh seeks to honor the people of her country. “I tell my neighbors that I love capturing the beauty of their nation, culture, and families. They are proud nationalistic people and are thrilled that I would bring out the beauty in simple things like a garden, or an everyday sight in the marketplace. I tell them that people in my country are interested in seeing the history and culture in the Middle East.”
 Pseudonym used to protect identity.