The Wonder of it All


For me photography is simply a way to focus on the world and see it more clearly. – John Snell

John Snell has a keen eye.  His photographs frame a beautiful landscape or piece of a fern or reflection on a pond with such simplicity that one wonders why one’s own photographs don’t look as stellar.  But more importantly, Snell has never lost his wonder.  The world about him may sadden him for they way in which we are rapidly destroying it, but he still experiences a childlike joy in walking down a familiar dirt road in the Vermont countryside so that his pictures glow with discovery.

A selection of John Snell’s artwork now hangs in the sanctuary for the public to stare at inwinter-2798 their own “wonder at the beauty of it all.”   His images draw one into his world — a world he describes in a beautifully fitting phrase for our worshipping congregation — “still learning to see.”  Here lies the world in shimmering vibrations, in glowing light, in growing green.  Here is the world, struggling to renew itself, to unburden itself of the waste and woe of human impact, wanting to breathe freely again, to blossom anew with  life.

Snell’s photographs of nature both capture and share his wonder at the incredible complexity and beauty all around us, even under our feet. “The first time I noticed the astonishing crystals that form new ice was in a mud puddle. Since then, I’ve spent many hours outside all over the world in all kinds of weather, and continue to marvel at what often lies unseen right in front of me.” The photo on the right is a perfect example taken in the heart of Montpelier’s Hubbard Park a few days before Christmas.

The works in this show are all taken in and around Central Vermont. Snell’s ability to see pattern, rhythm and beauty in the chaos and jumble of life is what sets his photographs apart and makes them so memorable. “Part of that comes from photographing the same places throughout the seasons and over the years, seeing both the changes as well as the commonalities,” he shares.

Snell will offer an art talk, also free and open to the public, on Sunday, January 24th at 11:30. He will discuss his work process and philosophy, and answer questions.

On Saturday, January, 30th,  Snell will co-host a nature walk and arts discussion as part of Waterbury’s Winterfest. More information will be available soon.

This show is part of a series organized by Meeting House Arts, a collaborative effort to provide opportunities for local residents to enjoy more art and for local artists to share their work with the community. The shows are hung in the Waterbury Congregational Church at 8 North Main Street in Waterbury Village and are open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Questions or comments should be directed to Torrey Smith at 244-8581 or




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