CFA News

Studio Arts Alum Examines the Inner Lives of LMU’s Jesuits in New Book

As the photography technician for CFA’s Department of Art and Art History, Chris Yates
‘16 spends his days mixing chemicals for photo development and supporting students
on their projects. But that’s just his day job. Yates is also the director and creator of
Emmaus, a fine art coffee table book which tells the stories of 22 of the Jesuit men who
live on-campus at LMU. Yates teamed up with Robert Macaisa ’14 to reveal the hidden
passions and interests of these Jesuit men, through a combination of gorgeous
photography and intimate interviews with these men of God.

During his time at LMU, Yates interacted with several of the Jesuits on campus. He was
involved with campus ministry, and took several courses led by Jesuit instructors.
Despite this connection to a number of the men, he realized he didn’t know much about
them besides their faith and occupation. Thus, the idea for the project was born – a
photography project to reveal the human side of Jesuits, exploring the parts of their lives
that remains separate from religious activities.

Yates achieves this through two distinct artistic directions for the photos: formal studio
shots of the men in their full Jesuit attire, and colorful photos showing their personalities
and passions. The formal photos of the men serve to represent the common perception
that their identities are one-dimensional – those of teachers or religious guides. These
photos are placed next to others of them in any number of settings. The juxtaposition of
these two conflicting portrayals of the men serves to break down the disconnect people
have about the depth of these men.

One of the main takeaways for Yates was his own realization at just how rich the lives of
the Jesuits are – one he wishes to share with viewers of his book. Said Yates, “Despite
their commitment to a life of faith, the Jesuits are allowed to also pursue what they want.
They’re not pigeonholed to just be teachers or theologians. They’re screenwriters,
actors, painters, people who do anything and everything. They still have the freedom
and the passion to pursue their area of study in college or their childhood dreams.”

Yates hopes that Emmaus will be able to impart into its readers the same insight that
creating it has given him. “Readers can interact with this project and still have that same
experiences that I had interacting with these men directly. Hopefully, reading this will
break down some of those barriers we have where we don’t have contact or awareness
or relationships with these men. I think this project has been successful in achieving
that.”

Although Emmaus was Yate’s first project of this nature, he intends to continue his work
this January – this time, with the Jesuit men of Loyola University Chicago.

You can buy the book here.