‘Abdu’l-Bahá With Flowers

Abdu’l-Bahá With Flowers (part painting, part photograph)
In 1972 I took a close-up Kodachrome photo of a painting hanging in the home of Margaret Gallagher, an Auxiliary Board Member in Hayward, California. Then I went out to her garden and saw the bright backlit red flowers and double-exposed them onto the same frame. I made two slides, both the same but one didn’t come out — overexposed. Several years later I scanned the original 35mm slide at 4,000 dpi (16-bit, 50 MB) and restored it because the original was faded and damaged by mildew. I electronically and meticulously removed the canvas and oil paint texture on the left side of the photo. I was told that the painter’s name was Mr. Samimi and he lived in Monaco. The right half of the image is all mine (photographic).

When I was on pilgrimage in 1973 I brought a few hundred copies of the photo with me at the request of Hand of the Cause A. Q. Faizi. He gave them away during his many teaching trips around the world. Though he asked me to sign the backs of the photos I never got around to it and was satisfied to remain anonymous. Among my treasures are hand-illuminated letters that Mr. Faizi wrote me in the 1970’s that include a reference to this image and to three other images on my website. You can find them online at the Bahai-Library in an unpublished book of his letters by Shirley Macias.

Because of Mr. Faizi’s travels this photograph has gone all around the world. It’s mostly found in second or third generation copies. I’ve heard fanciful stories about its origin none of which were true.

I give these away for free on a very limited basis. I do not accept payment for copies of this image. It may be freely distributed by Bahá’ís as long as it’s not modified and the source of the image is included (the website address and author). It is a copyrighted image and not in the public domain. Accompanying text documents must not be edited or modified. If you wish to make a payment consider the Chilean Temple Fund.

Sometimes I make archival quality pigment ink prints as special gifts for friends and family. However, recently I’ve just been using Shutterfly’s website at http://www.shutterfly.com to make prints. The high-quality JPG image on this website is contained in a ZIP file along with a copy of this document. You can download it and make your own prints using any service you wish including your own inkjet printer. You will probably want a print between 8×10 and 11×14 inches. Always specify “No Cropping” or “Custom Cropping” when ordering prints larger than 4×6 inches. There are several other quality printing sites and all are easy to use.

Download location for this image
Right-click and choose Save Target As… if your browser doesn’t promptly begin to download it. The file contains one image and a copy of this PDF document. The image is in ZIP format because otherwise the browser would attempt to display it which would take a very long time.

Web page where the image is located.
Web page where you can read about my photographs that are for sale at the Absolute Arts site.

There are two versions in the ZIP file both of which are optimized for printing. One is the original Kodachrome slide that I made in 1972. The other has been digitally enhanced and color saturated. Instead of downloading the images you can access them directly at Shutterfly to make your own prints. If you don’t want to do the large 8 MB download you can just get the PDF file from my webpage about the image.  The document tells how to access the high resolution files and how to print them.

The version at the top of this page is the original photograph which shows the canvas and paint texture. The versions in the ZIP file and online at Shutterfly are color enhanced and optimized.

“Ministry of Flowers”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s personal wants were few. He worked late and early. Two simple meals a day sufficed Him. His wardrobe consisted of a very few garments of inexpensive material. He could not bear to live in luxury while others were in want. He had a great love for children, for flowers, and for the beauties of nature. Every morning about six or seven, the family party used to gather to partake of the morning tea together, and while the Master sipped His tea, the little children of the household chanted prayers. Mr. Thornton Chase writes of these children: — “Such children I have never seen, so courteous, unselfish, thoughtful for others, unobtrusive, intelligent, and swiftly self-denying in the little things that children love. …”
In Galilee, p. 51.

The “ministry of flowers” was a feature of the life at ‘Akká, of which every pilgrim brought away fragrant memories. Mrs. Lucas writes: — “When the Master inhales the odor of flowers, it is wonderful to see him. It seems as though the perfume of the hyacinths were telling him something as he buries his face in the flowers. It is like the effort of the ear to hear a beautiful harmony, a concentrated attention!”
A Brief Account of My Visit to ‘Akká, pp. 25-26.

He loved to present beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers to His numerous visitors.
Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 57



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  2. behrad nourieh · June 5, 2010

    allahu abha
    i am behrad nourieh . and i am very glad to see this picture

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