Exit 2016, Enter 2017, Exit…

Well, here’s something good that happened in 2016 that bodes well for 2017…

For the past several years, I have been a regular contributor to the publication Alive Now – a bimonthly publication of the Upper Room Ministries which “speaks to the opportunities and challenges of following Christ in the modern world.”

Anybody who knows me and my lack of (organized) religious conviction will appreciate the irony in that mission statement.

Nevertheless, over the years Alive Now has featured many of my photos from my wanderings amid the medieval ruins of the U.K.  I am endlessly grateful for the patronage of the magazine’s art director, Nancy Terzian and its editor, Beth Richardson – who also selected one of my photos from Scotland to serve as the cover of her book, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

Alive Now has published enough of my photos – and actually paid for them! – that I’ve probably earned enough over the years to reimburse the trips I made to England and Scotland to shoot the photos of medieval ruins that they used (OK, not ALL of the photos were from the UK, but who’s counting?).

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click to embiggen

Now, the capstone of that fruitful relationship is in place.  After however many years, I finally secured the cover of March/April 2017 edition of Alive Now.  I know it’s a sin, but I’ve coveted a cover for as long as I have been submitting photos, and I finally have one.

Unfortunately, in what feels like a hangover from the annus horribilis known as 2016 (trust me, you want to follow that ‘2016’ link…), the cover comes with its own sad tidings: this will be the final print edition of Alive Now.  The publication will continue, but as has befallen so many print publications in the past decade, all future editions will be online/digital only. Once again, The Medium Is The Message (#TMITM).

The photo on the cover was taken at a monastic ruin in Yorkshire, England called Jervaulx Abbey. I stumbled on Jervaulx while touring the UK in the fall of 2014 looking for more “Portals of Stone.”

Unlike the neatly manicured ruins that are maintained by well-endowed institutions like English Heritage, Jervaulx sits on a private estate. Its owners have gone to considerable effort and expense over the past decade to rehabilitate the ruin, but it still lingers in a state that is more reflective of how these ruins must have stood before their preservation became pet projects for the British aristocracy starting in the 18th century.  That made spending an afternoon at Jervaulx an exercise in time travel that stopped in at least two different centuries at the same time.

And here is the ‘Portals of Stone’ version:

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Paul Schatzkin