June 15, 2017 — “Emmaus: The Nature of the Way” is a new fine-art coffee table photography book with unusual subjects: Jesuits. The project, which was two years in the making, began when creator and director, Chris Yates, realized that his Jesuit teachers and friends were often misunderstood.
By photographing 22 of the Jesuits that live at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Yates and photographer Robert Macaisa set out to portray these men exactly how they are: human. Through the contrast of formal and informal photographs, the book aims to break down some of the misconceptions and barriers that society has placed on priests. For instance, in one photo, Fr. Thomas Rausch, SJ, is shown enjoying a beautiful sunny day on his motorcycle.
Yates’ faith has always been a prominent cornerstone in his life, but attending Loyola Marymount University was the first time Yates understood that his passion for his faith and creativity could go hand in hand.
Macaisa, a professional portrait photographer and filmmaker, graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2014 with a bachelor’s in film and television production; Yates received a bachelor’s in screenwriting from LMU.
Reflecting on his time spent at LMU, Yates recalled being forever changed by simple moments with the Jesuits in and outside of the classroom. One quote he thinks about often, from Fr. William Fulco, SJ, is “Love transcends a relationship from a puzzle to a mystery. With a puzzle, you eventually hit a wall but with a mystery, that wall opens up into infinity.”
During Yates’ time at LMU, he felt fortunate to have Jesuit professors and mentors, but most importantly friends. He was saddened that many students on campus would graduate without ever meeting a single Jesuit — his inspiration for the book.
Yates describes his book as “not simply two covers with some photographs, or someone’s diary, but rather, a spiritual exercise, walking with these men in solidarity as each one of us strives to understand The Nature of the Way.”