Despite the hatred, the deaths, and the displacements that can result from the three religions Abbas captures, people can’t seem to escape a yearning for a higher power. “I’m not saying God created man,” hes says, “I’m saying man created God to his needs, not to his image but to his needs.” Abbas’s journey has put him smack in the center of the violence, and yet “it’s made me more tolerant,” he says, “because it made me understand why people need to believe in God.” He concedes, though, “It’s probably made me more intolerant in what they do in the name of God, all the stupidities.”
Does a show like “Children of Abraham” offer resolution? “I can tell you that people read photography in totally different ways,” Abbas notes, evading a conclusive answer. Yet in times where priests and pundits, mullahs and mouth-pieces so often spout divisive ideologies, the charged silence conveyed in Abbas’s images speak with greater reason, conviction, and reverence. He is, after all, a professional.