Monday, December 15, 2008


America Magazine reviews In the Footsteps of Abraham: The Holy Land in Hand-Painted Photographs, by Richard Hardiman an Helen Speelman in the December 16 issue: "If you are looking for a deluxe item for Christmas gift-giving, look no further. A spectacular and captivating book, this volume contains 180 hand-colored photographs (from a collection of 1,200) of the Holy Land, taken by the Matson Photo Agency, a part of Jerusalem’s American Colony, at the turn of the last century before color photography came to be. The history and international displays of these photos (originally glass plates), and the painstaking process of adding color, are as fascinating as the world and people they so strikingly depict. Richard Hardiman teaches at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Helen Speelman is an artist and granddaughter of Arie Speelman, who commissioned these colored renditions. And there is generous textual commentary prefacing each of the book’s eight sections. We travel from Jaffa to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, Galilee and much more. Village life comes palpably alive, evoking Jesus’ own time. Included too are numerous depictions of the Bedouin and their practices, homes and families at work or play, beggars and shepherds, potters and carpenters, synagogues and mosques. The book is a veritable pilgrimage to first-century Palestine, a close look into history that will be cherished by all people of the Book."

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