Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

From IranWatch we learn that a courageous ayatollah sent a section of his artwork to each of eight of Iran’s persecuted minorities. His vision of a civilized, integrated & compassionate Iran is deeply moving.

This is the whole of his art-piece;


To the Baha’is he sent this section;


IranWatch  give us the following report;

The Artwork by Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, … he has divided into eight parts corresponding with eight religious groups in the country. He has dedicated parts of the painting to Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, Yarsanians, Baha’is, and Sunni and Shia Muslims in the country, all of whom he considers “essential aspects of Iran’s national culture as well as the entire region’s spiritual and religious reservoir.”

In recent years, individuals and groups from within and outside of Iran have raised the call for justice, human rights, and a culture of inclusion in the country. Though more and more voices are joining this chorus, it is still rare to see any vocal support from among Iran’s ecclesiastical class. On occasions when a clerical figure in Iran does speak out in support of the rights of citizens and minorities, it can inspire hope in countless hearts.

Against this backdrop, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a high-ranking religious cleric in Iran who is also a calligrapher and artist, has stood out for his public dedication to unity. His contributions to social harmony in Iran have drawn attention and acclaim in many parts of the world.

Recently Ayatollah Tehrani has painted a new work which he has divided into eight parts corresponding with eight religious groups in the country. He has dedicated parts of the painting to Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, Yarsanians, Baha’is, and Sunni and Shia Muslims in the country, all of whom he considers “essential aspects of Iran’s national culture as well as the entire region’s spiritual and religious reservoir.”

A group of Iranian Baha’is received the fragment of artwork on behalf of the Baha’is of Iran.

“Our national identity would be incomplete without each one of them,” he writes in a statement on his website.

The dividing of his painting symbolizes the fragmentation of the diverse populations that constitute Iran’s citizenry-a fragmentation he attributes to religious fanaticism and claims of privileged access to truth.

Explaining the symbolism of dividing his painting, he states: “As the body politic of human society would suffer because of estrangements and separations, likewise each section of this piece would be incomplete if it remains unaccompanied by the other sections. This piece is only complete when all the parts are put together.”

A section of artwork by Ayatollah Tehrani, which he has dedicated to the Baha’i community of Iran.

In the past, Ayatollah Tehrani has made other gestures of reconciliation and brotherhood toward religious minorities. In April 2014, for example, he gifted a calligraphic rendering of a sacred verse from the Baha’i writings to the Baha’is of the world. His action at once acknowledged the persecution of Iran’s largest religious minority and expressed a wish that the Baha’is of Iran should be allowed their rightful place beside their fellow citizens, working for the prosperity and happiness of their country.

His courageous actions as a member of Iran’s religious clergy have resonated with many inside and outside of the borders of that country and inspired a number of his counterparts from other Muslim denominations as well as other religions around the world to voice their support for his actions towards peaceful religious coexistence. 

With this latest action, Ayatollah Tehrani captures the yearning of many of his fellow citizens for “a future where this land does not only belong to a certain religion, class, ethnicity, or ideology but belongs, without discrimination, to all Iranians, regardless of religion, attitude, or gender”.

-0- Go to IranWatch for more pictures and the full story -0-

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Here is a first attempt and juxtaposing quotations concerning photography with quotations about spiritual reality.  If spirituality isn’t your thing just dig out the brilliant quotations concerning photography;

1 -“His beauty hath no veiling save light, His face no covering save revelation.” SV p 38

2 A painter works with colour as the medium, a photographer works with light. – Carlotta M. Corpron       (God works with love RP)

3 -‘Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe’    SAB 27

4 “Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”     Walker Evans

5 -This is the Day, O my Lord, whose brightness Thou hast exalted above the brightness of the sun and the splendors thereof. I testify that the light it sheddeth proceedeth out of the glory of the light of Thy countenance, and is begotten by the radiance of the morn of Thy Revelation P& M 273

6 Light is my inspiration. My photographic images search for dimensions that words cannot touch– the result of intense responses to personal experiences. I do not wish to “record,” but rather to touch upon the illusive meanings which I perceive and try to comprehend in this limitless universe. -Ruth Bernhard, “Collection of Ginny Williams” by Ruth Bernhard , ISBN: 1881138046

7 -In every moment of genuine love, we are dwelling in God and God is dwelling in us. ~ Paul Tillich

8 Everything is one and I am one with it. -Ruth Bernhard

9 -“There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.”  Meister Eckhart

10 This unexpected image was the record of an inner state that I did not remember seeing and he did not remember experiencing at the moment of exposure. -Minor White, “Mirrors, messages, manifestations” by Minor White. Millerton, New York: Aperture, 1969.

11 -Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more. PHW

12 Inside movement there is one moment in which the elements are in balance. Photography must seize the importance of this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it. – HCB

13 Theological matters: – (There is no such’ thing’ as God. ‘Thingification’ is something we mustn’t do to others (as the Nazis did) – let alone God. So what then is God?  ‘God is love.’  Love is a state of a) being and of b) relating.  However it seems that as Bahá’ís we go beyond Tillich’s ‘the ground of being’ (because it was finistic?) because for us our theology is panentheistic – we believe simultaneously in God immanent and God transcendent. (RP)
Theology can be logical or illogical – but in both cases it is commentary on ineffable, personal experience of that which originates in Mystery, in the unknown & unknowable.  If we are blessed some insights are gained from such experiences. Art photography can be windows to such insights, including glimpses of the ineffable and the divine.  RP)

14 -‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. PT 30

15 -“A photograph is neither taken nor seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you…..” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

16 -“ …creative quickening emanates from the breaths of the Holy Spirit”, PUP130

17 To take photographs means to recognize — simultaneously and within a fraction of a second — both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

18 -“The breath of God is breathing me…”

19 *He made me suddenly realize that photographs could reach eternity through the moment. – HCB

20 -With inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and the souls of men SV12

21 I’m not responsible for my photographs. Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. It’s drowning yourself, dissolving yourself, and then sniff, sniff, sniff – being sensitive to coincidence. You can’t go looking for it; you can’t want it, or you wont get it. First you must lose your self. Then it happens. – Henri Cartier-B

22 -“That which you are seeking is doing the seeking.” (St. Francis of Assissi)

23 A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know. -Diane Arbus

24 -There are certain pillars which have been established as the unshakeable supports of the Faith of God. The mightiest of these is learning and the use of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, and insight into the realities of the universe and the hidden mysteries of Almighty God.  SAB 126

25 Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen. Minor White

26 -“There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.”  Meister Eckhart

27 To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event, as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.  Henri Cartier-Bresson

28 -Knowledge is of two kinds. One is subjective and the other objective knowledge – that is to say, an intuitive knowledge and a knowledge derived from perception.

The knowledge of things which men universally have is gained by reflection or by evidence – that is to say, either by the power of the mind the conception of an object is formed, or from beholding an object the form is produced in the mirror of the heart. The circle of this knowledge is very limited because it depends upon effort and attainment.
But the second sort of knowledge, which is the knowledge of being, is intuitive…..                                    SAQ157-159

29 Impressionism has induced the study of what we see and shown us that we all see differently; it has done good to photography by showing that we should represent what we see and not what the lens sees . . . What do we see when we go to Nature? We see exactly what we are trained to see, and, if we are lucky, perhaps a little more but not much . . . We see what we are prepared to see and on that I base a theory that we should be very careful what we learn. – Henry Peach Robinson

30 -O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.  AHW 2

31 Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing. Henri Cartier-Bresson

32 -How shall we attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself. Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. PUP p.22

33 This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

34 -Of these truths some can be disclosed only to the extent of the capacity of the repositories of the light of Our knowledge, and the recipients of Our hidden grace. BWF 133

35 Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity. -HCB

36 -(the) heart, ….. is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God KI 192

37 As time passes by and you look at portraits, the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit.
Photography has something to do with death. It’s a trace. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

38 -truth in its essence cannot be put into words. (about pictures of Divinity maybe story) AB in L 22′

39 There is no art which affords less opportunity to execute expression than photography. Everything is concentrated in a few seconds, when after perhaps an hours seeking, waiting, and hesitation, the photographer sees the realization of his inward vision, and in that moment he has one advantage over most arts – his medium is swift enough to record his momentary inspiration.  -Sadakichi Hartmann

40 -Dance, as though no one is watching,
Love, as though you’ve never been hurt before,
Sing, as though no one can hear you,
Work, as though you don’t need the money,
Live, as though heaven is on earth.  ~Rumi~

41 I never question what to do, it tells me what to do. The photographs make themselves with my help. -Ruth Bernhard

42 -“I was asleep on My couch: the breaths of My Lord the Merciful passed over Me and awakened Me from sleep:  TN7

43 for me, the creation of a photograph is experienced as a heightened emotional response, most akin to poetry and music, each image the culmination of a compelling impulse I cannot deny. Whether working with a human figure or a still life, I am deeply aware of my spiritual connection with it. In my life, as in my work, I am motivated by a great yearning for balance and harmony beyond the realm of human experience, reaching for the essence of oneness with the Universe. -Ruth Bernhard

44 -God has revealed his light many times in order to illumine mankind in the path of evolution.  AB DP 8

45 There is no closed figure in nature. Every shape participates with another. No one thing is independent of another, and one thing rhymes with another, and light gives them shape. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

46 -Now concerning mental faculties, they are in truth of the inherent properties of the soul, even as the radiation of light is the essential property of the sun.     (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablet to August Forel, p. 8)

47 As time passes by and you look at portraits, the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit. Photography has something to do with death. It’s a trace. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

48 -Kill these four birds of prey,” [1] that after death the riddle of life may be unraveled.   4V 50

49 Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time. We play with subjects that disappear; and when they’re gone, it’s impossible to bring them back to life. We can’t alter our subject afterward…. Writers can reflect before they put words on paper…. As photographers, we don’t have the luxury of this reflective time….We can’t redo our shoot once we’re back at the hotel. Our job consists of observing reality with help of our camera (which serves as a kind of sketchbook), of fixing reality in a moment, but not manipulating it, neither during the shoot nor in the darkroom later on. These types of manipulation are always noticed by anyone with a good eye. -Henri Cartier-Bresson, “American Photo”, September/October 1997, page: 76

50 -These sanctified Mirrors, these Day Springs of ancient glory, are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are the Treasuries of Divine knowledge, and the Repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the Light that can never fade…. These Tabernacles of Holiness, these Primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles. By the revelation of these Gems of Divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty, and grace, are made manifest.  GL 47

51 The state of mind of a photographer while creating is a blank…For those who would equate “blank” with a kind of static emptiness, I must explain that this is a special kind of blank. It is a very active state of mind really, a very receptive state of mind, ready at an instant to grasp an image, yet with no image pre-formed in it at any time. We should note that the lack of a pre-formed pattern or preconceived idea of how anything ought to look is essential to this blank condition. Such a state of mind is not unlike a sheet of film itself – seemingly inert, yet so sensitive that a fraction of a second’s exposure conceives a life in it. (Not just life, but “a” life). -Minor White, “The Camera Mind and Eye” . Magazine of Art, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp.16-19

52 -No one else besides Thee hath, at any time, been able to fathom Thy mystery, or befittingly to extol Thy greatness.  GL 4

To be developed


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This wonderful, simple, perfect, timeless photograph by Benn Mitchell is on the Boca Raton Museum of Art. 

















The museums blurb says this; 

Color Me New York – Photographs by Benn Mitchell
Through January 18, 2009

The exhibition honors Benn Mitchell as a forerunner in realistic photography, documenting life in New York City during the 1930s through the 1950s. Mitchell (born in New York City 1926 – ) sold his first photograph to LIFE magazine at the age of 16. Just one year later he became a portrait photographer in Hollywood for Warner Brothers’ studios, capturing classic images of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, among others. In 1948, Mitchell started his own commercial studio in New York City, the beginning of a career lasting over five decades. This exhibition presents 16 color images shot in the streets of New York City between 1947 and 1980, which capture Benn Mitchell’s acute observations, and his award-winning eye for both the artistic and the incidental. Mitchell now lives with his wife Esther in Boca Raton


To go to the museum’s site click HERE

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Click HERE to have your say about this article –  at SEESMIC  video discussion

We enjoyed immensly our visit to Unveiled: New art from the middle-east at London’s Saatchi Gallery.  This ‘review’ is about Ghost by Kader Attia – and how it is great work – including for teachers or home-schoolers.  (Exhibition ends 9th May 2009)



Kader Attia – Ghost – 2007 – Aluminium foil – Dimensions variable – Saatchi Gallery, London

In Ghost, a large installation of a group of Muslim women in prayer, Attia renders their bodies as vacant shells, empty hoods devoid of personhood or spirit. Made from tin foil – a domestic, throw away material – Attia’s figures become alien and futuristic, synthesising the abject and divine. Bowing in shimmering meditation, their ritual is equally seductive and hollow, questioning modern ideologies – from religion to nationalism and consumerism – in relation to individual identity, social perception, devotion and exclusion. Attia’s Ghost evokes contemplation of the human condition as vulnerable and mortal; his impoverished materials suggest alternative histories or understandings of the world, manifest in individual and temporal experience. (This is the gallery description)


Draft Notes for suggested lessons:

I always admire simplicity – creating a profound piece just by wrapping aluminium foil around a room full of kneeling women – great simplicity.

Presence and absence – traces – how and it what ways do people live on.

Why might the artist have called the piece Ghost as opposed to Ghosts?  Which do you prefer and why?

What makes a person a person?

Which bits of the gallery description of Ghost make good sense to you  – and which don’t – and why?

Two of the most important concerns in a person’s development are 1) identity – who am I? and 2) purpose – what am I dedicating my life to?  What has Ghost to do with identity and purpose?

How powerful might it be if, as a performance piece, a real live woman came and filled one of the places?  Would you dress her in aluminium or not – how else would you dress her?  Would she speak to the audience?  What would she say?

The aluminium creates boundaries, forms – of people who were/are/aren’t no more.  Is there spirit to go with the form – or not?  If so what is it – where is it – whose spirit is it?

What are your feelings about the women whose forms gave rise to the ghost/s?

How might a fundamentalist respond to this piece?  How might a modern believer respond to this piece?  

Create a conversation betwen two such people.  

What would the whole thing be like if the women had been from Christian/Jewish/Hindu/Buddhist etc background?

What conclusions do you come to as a result of viewing the photograph  – or better still having visited the exhibition?

How would you use your/the above ideas to make your own art?

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I loved the teasing ambiguity of this photograph at Boca Raton Museum Of Art – dare we hope that something good might, just might, be passing between them – some kindness instead of cruelty, some recognition instead of hatred?  Is the hand about to become a fist?  Is she touching his chest in an appeal such as she might make to her son? Does the ambiguity shift the photograph from documentary to fine art?  Does the space created by the ambiguity make the art? 




 Have you seen the SunWALK human-centred studies model? – summary HERE 

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It’s just a joke –  a museum of bad art?  I suspect that MOBA  provides many interesting questions – and probably insights – what do you think?



.The WikiPedia article tells us;

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a world-renowned institution dedicated to showcasing the finest art acquired from Boston-area refuse.

The museum started in a pile of trash in 1994, in a serendipitous moment when an antiques dealer came across a painting of astonishing power and compositional incompetence that had been tragically discarded.

Its magnetic pull was immediate; it has since inspired a collection of 500 masterful pieces of art so awful they prompt viewers to appeal loudly for divine intervention.

Located next to two Massachusetts bathrooms, the museum’s collection aspires to be a monument to creative ecstasy that has resulted in glorious failure.

Only the most arresting paintings and sculptures are accepted by MOBA, but priority goes to those that prominently feature a monkey or a poodle.

Public reaction has been overwhelming, freeing the art-loving community to point and laugh at art everywhere.

Two of their pieces have been stolen, so alarming the museum that they promptly offered a reward in the amount of $6.50 for their return. Some of their more notable pieces show a footless John Ashcroft wearing a diaper, and a hula skirt-wearing wiener dog juggling bones. Such enigmatic images invoke so many mysteries that they are often unable to be explained by artists themselves. (more…)

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‘Photography’s greatest artist’ – that’s what Carter B. Horsley claims for Edward Steichen, and he puts the Tonalist pictures centre stage in his essay


Edward Steichen, Across the Salt Marshes, Huntington, c. 1905, oil on canvas, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, Gift of Florence Scott Libbey, reproduced with permission of Joanna T. Steichen

Edward Steichen, Across the Salt Marshes, Huntington, c. 1905, oil on canvas, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, Gift of Florence Scott Libbey, reproduced with permission of Joanna T. Steichen

The above reproduction is better than those in the esaay

The essay is HERE

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