... through different manifestations of the Christian religion, told in almost two hundred photographs and covering sixteen countries. The photographs are organized by geographical location, starting with Jerusalem and ending with Brazil. Other stops include: Egypt, Sudan, Mali, South Africa, United States, France, Ireland, Spain, Serbia, Russia, South Korea, Philippines, Cuba, and Mexico. The photographs are superbly reproduced, with great tonal range and on excellent paper. About 75% of them spread on two pages, but the binding allows each photograph to lay flat. The text at the end of the book is a travelogue filled with rhetorical questions about the events Abbas witnesses.
The previous reviews do not do justice to this book and to Abbas's work. One reviewer mentioned that the project is unfinished since it only covers certain areas, which is ridiculous. The title of the book is "Faces of Christianity" not "The Faces..." or "All Faces...". Abbas never intended to do a comprehensive documentation of Christianity. Another dubious comment is that Abbas's views are subjective. Can photography be otherwise? Another reviewer claims that the book does not offer a "faithful depiction" of Christianity. Faithful according to whom? Is there a real Christianity and a less real one? One of the main points of the book is precisely that there is no one Christianity. There are only contextual manifestations, only "sects"; every now and then, some dream of becoming empires. It's somehow ironic, but by accusing Abbas that he only focuses on the "unusual", the previous review only confirms the author's fear regarding religion: since everyone considers that their religion as the true one (and thus all others must be false) how can we find common ground? As Abbas looks for threads that link these different manifestations of Christianity, particularly compassion, he also finds conflict, poverty, and ignorance.
Make no mistake: this book does express a point of view, but one worth pondering about. The book is not the result of uninformed opinion; it is a personal journey through a world that does not make too much sense to the author - an author whose relationship with god (any god) is purely "professional". Abbas tries to understand it through photography, and what he finds are not answers, but more questions. Not only is the documentary and artistic value of these photographs inestimable, but the entire project is intellectually challenging.