Images of Faith

February 20, 2011 · 19 comments

9-340-38  stock photo of Israel, Jerusalem, Dalai Lama, Interreligious Friendship Group, June 1999

In a press conference in Jerusalem as part of an interfaith conference, His Holiness the Dalia Lama was asked why he thought there were so many religions in the world. With a slight smile he quickly replied, as if stating the unutterably obvious, “Well that is because there are so many different kinds of people in the world.”

A recent blog post by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, A Matter of Faith, shows a portfolio of wonderful images from around the world and reminds me of my own longstanding interest in photographing varieties of religious experience.

Here’s a selection from around the world. If you like them, please comment, and if you have your own selections of images please post them on your blog and email me or add a comment here and I’ll collect them for a follow-on post.

4-466-34  stock photo of Pakistan, Lahore, Early morning meditation, Badshahi Mosque
Standing meditation, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan
0-381-77  stock photo of Thailand, Chiang Mai, Monks praying, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Buddhist monk, Chiang Mai, Thailand

3-654-62  stock photo of Greece, Athens, Metropolitan Cathedral

Maundy Thursday candles, Metropolitan Cathedral, Athens, Greece

4-130-21  stock photo of Tibet, Monk circumambulating Labrang Monastery, Xiahe

TIbetan Buddhist monk circumambulating temple, Labrang Monastery, Tibet (traditional)

4-850-2881  stock photo of Mexico, Yucatan, Coba, El Castillo, meditation

Woman meditating atop Mayan Temple, Coba, Yucatan, Mexico

5-850-2044  stock photo of Japan, Tokyo, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Paper prayers

Shinto paper prayers, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo, Japan

7-384-13  stock photo of India, Agra, Taj Mahal, imam studying in mosque

Imam studying Koran, Taj Mahal, Agra, India

9-400-83  stock photo of Palestine, West Bank, Hebron, Man praying in synagogue in Tomb of Abraham

Man praying in synagogue in Tomb of Abraham, Hebron, West Bank, Palestine

9-350-69  stock photo of Israel, Jerusalem, Metropol Daniel, Church of Holy Sepulchre

Metropol Daniel, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel

5-568-18  stock photo of California, San Francisco, Bishops hands blessing bread,

Bishop’s hands blessing holy communion bread, St Gregory of Nyssen Church, San Francisco

7-561-2  stock photo of Malaysia, Langkawi, Singer, Mahsuris Tomb

Singer, Mahsuris Tomb, Malaysia, Langkawi

9-340-22  stock photo of Israel, Jerusalem, Dalai Lama at Western Wall

The Dalai Lama at Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David Sanger March 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm

posted all the responses today. thanks everyone


2 Darren Melrose February 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Hi David, great photos. Inspired by yourself, as well as Craig Ferguson, I did a similar post myself.


3 Darren Melrose February 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Hi David, great photos. Inspired by yourself, as well as Craig Ferguson, I did a similar post myself.


4 Tom Bourdon February 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

OK so I´ve been truly inspired, so much so I´ve put together my own blog post here

Thanks for sharing and inspiring.


5 Josh February 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

First off, thanks for pointing out the Steve McCurry post. His work has always amazed me.

As for your images, I was really fond of the Dalai Lama in each shot. The very last image shows what I’ve always been fascinated with – religious pluralism. I taught for a few years in Houston, Texas where there exists multiple mosques, temples, churches, and synagogues of all varieties.

I regularly post about religion as I live in Taiwan and am fascinated with it – here’s a post I made with photos from Tainan:

Again, awesome idea and beautiful work.


6 David Sanger February 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

Great shots Josh – the color and faces, especially the painted faces. They remind me of amazing Korean Mask Dances I photographed in Hahoe, Andong Korea. very expressive.

The Dalai Lama images were from an interfaith council he initiated in Jerusalem, meeting behind closed doors with Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic Protestant and Jewish leaders. His notion was that if leaders can get to know each other and find common ground there’d be less fractious differences. A good effort.


7 cfimages February 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm
8 David Sanger February 22, 2011 at 4:56 am

Thanks Craig. I like the large format, works well – and the image of one of the eight generals


9 Anonymous February 21, 2011 at 6:45 am

Love these, David. Especially the Dalai Lama in a yarmulke!


10 David Sanger February 21, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thanks Trudy and Urvashi, indeed details often tell a story better than the whole.

..and Craig, I will look forward to seeing some of your shots.


11 cfimages February 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Excellent series. Agree with the others about the Shinto prayer papers. Also the standing meditation. You’ve inspired me to put together my own selection – I’ll send you a link when I do.


12 Urvashi Pitre February 20, 2011 at 11:14 pm

The Shinto prayer papers are amazing in their detail. Wonderful to see these places I’ve only read about. Thanks for sharing.


13 Tru Shots Photo February 20, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Beautiful work. I love the Shinto prayer payers and the Metropol Daniel, Church of Holy Sepulchre photographs the most. Amazing. 🙂


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