“The traveler never arrives,” stated Abbas, quoting the great French artist Edgar Degas, in reference to his decades-spanning study of world religions. Here, alongside a small cross section of this huge body of work photographing the world’s major religions, Abbas discusses this documentation in his own words:
“From 1978 to 1980 I covered the Iranian Revolution, then for seven years, from 1987 to 1993 I traveled the land of Muslims. From Sinkiang to Morocco, from London to Timbuktu, visiting New York and Mecca, I photographed the daily lives of Muslims, the rituals of their faith, their spirituality as well as the emergence of Islamism, its fanaticism and its violence.
Driven by a desire to understand the internal tensions at work within Muslim societies, I exposed the conflict between a rising political ideology looking for inspiration in a mythical past and the universal desire for modernity and democracy.
Then, for six years, from 1995 to the year 2000, I photographed Christian communities throughout the world with the same critical eye. Heralding the dawn of the ‘Third Millennium’, the year 2000 imposed itself as the universal calendar and therefore a symbol of Western Civilization. That year, Jews celebrate the year 5,760 and Muslims the year 1,420.
During these journeys, I also photographed Jews, the children of Abraham, claimed as a common ancestor by both Christians and Muslims.”