The Iranian-French photographer Abbas (born in 1944) took religion as his main concern. He shot the Iranian Revolution, documented Islam as a gobal phenomenon, including militant Islamism. To be able to document the everyday life of Muslims, he travelled from Xinjiang to Morocco, from London to Timbuktu, New York and Mecca. He photographed their rituals, their spirituality, and also their growing radicalisation. He deals with the spiritual power and the political significance of Christianity, as well as with Judaism. He visits animistic cultures, he explores the world of Buddhism and – in more recent times – the fourth big world religion, Hinduism.
While Abbas’ images document spiritual contemplation, they also observe the shift of religions from cultural phenomena to ideologies with the power to cause wars. They capture the tension between tradition and modernity.
Abbas has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1981.