Chuck Kirchner | Photography: Culture, Ritual, and Spirit | Thin Places

Thin Places


A Thin Place

A place to go to feel at peace

A place to be in touch with one’s origins

A place to go to feel one's natural self

A place to be in touch with one's soul


A place where the veil between heaven and earth, between the sacred and profane, between our creator and ourselves, is lifted and we connect in an intimate way with the universe.


We have all, I hope, felt this once or several or many times in our lives. It could be alone at the ocean, or in the desert, the mountains, or even a cathedral. And, just perhaps, is could be while with another who is in a similar state of seeking - seeking what we may not know but with an openness and experience and seek and commune with our higher power.

For me, it often happens at the ocean. It is here that the power of the universe is most intense - the roar of the waves, the sweeping din of the winds, the feel of the ocean spray on my face, the feel of the winds against my body. I know, just know, that I am with the Spirit here. And I'm inspired, driven, to walk with the Spirit along the shore or, at low tide, toward the waterline. And my thoughts are not precise; rather they are more mindful, setting my thoughts free to absorb the universe' power and might and awe - to know that I am created and am a creator. My creative juices are rejuvenated by recognizing this power and this reality of existence.

Interestingly, it also happens in the desert Southwest, where the ocean's roar, motion, and power are replaced by the silence, solitude, and calmness of the open space. I've been present at White Sands National Monument when the veil between heaven and earth was lifted and a aura of peace and tranquility entered into my being. At both the ocean and the dunes, the thin place also inspired by artistic and creative side through the medium of photography. Both created and creative at one time.    

My creativity is manifested through photography. While still at the ocean, when the light is right and the conditions (fog, drizzle, sunrise, sunset, grey overcast) speak to me, I shoot and film to emphasize the power and majesty of creation, be it a blazing sunset, a lone walker against the unfathomable immensity of the ocean, or haystack rocks mysteriously arising through the fog and mist.

The creative juices are embedded within me to be tapped in other circumstances when far from the physical Thin Place.  The sadhu in Pushkar gliding out of the ashram; the unseen presence photographed moving through the portico in Antigua; the aura of Ms Ginger against the bright light. It's to be present, even unknowingly at the time, to the wonders and powers and mysteries that surround and engulf us.

Into the Light, Ashram, PushkarInto the Light, Ashram, Pushkar

Thin Places and Photo Creativity Workshop

Through a series of readings, meditative exercises, solo and small group wanderings (camera in hand), we'll be open to experiences of all our senses and begin to intuitively develop the awareness of translating feelings and experiences with the medium of photography.  We spend time in nature.  We explore the creative potential of photography to record our feelings and experiences in ways you have not have thought about before.  And we'll add in some music as well to lift the Spirits in more ways than one.

Will you experience a Thin Place during this workshop? No way of knowing. But I hope you will gain an understanding of such places, and be prepared to make that connection when you discover the Thin Places in your life. And you will have the skills to take your rejuvenated creativity to new levels with each recharge of your soul's Thin Place.

To be on the email list for announcements about the next Thin Places workshop (2019 or 2020), please e-mail me at chuck(at)


Thin Places and Photographic Creativity Book 

Thin Places and Photographic Creativity integrates the Celtic concept of Thin Places - where the space between heaven and earth is tissue-thin, even translucent - with the photographer's vision. Translating this vision into a photograph, in the author's experience, involves five elements - The Light, Simplicity, Color, Openness, and the Ethereal. Photographs from the Northwest Coast, the High Plains of the Southwest, and other locations near and far are accompanied by quotes from Thin Place commentators providing additional context and meaning to these experiences.

This 70-page, soft-cover book is available through my Blurb bookstore: