EYES OF WISDOM
The spiritual Face of Religions
by RALF TOOTEN
This exhibition is a contribution to the understanding between religion and culture.
The German commercial photographer Ralf Tooten, based in Bangkok, traveled around the world for 5 Yearsto portrait the dignitaries of the most significant religions and confessions.
More than 100 large format black and white Portraits offer an Opportunity to observe and encounter great human beings who have become symbols of their faith.
“Photos can be many things
Art, remembrance, documentation
Here they become symbols
Of a deeper truth”
“The heart of all religions is one.”
These portraits are the result of lengthy and adventurous journeys that the photographer Ralf Tooten undertook in many continents, to make portraits of people from the greatest diversity of religions, cultures beliefs and world-views possible. These are not only portraits of religious leaders, but also of men and women who live and practice non-violence, compassion, love and peace.
It is his wish that these portraits will encourage everyone to engage in peaceful dialog and mutual understanding.
Please enter into an unknown, fascinating world!
Selected Quotes about Ralf Tooten’s Project
“ Ralf took pictures with his heart”
Mae-chee Sansaee / Thailand
“One cannot photograph the aura. Ralf Tooten can. His photos from the spiritual world are saturated with experience and immaterial at the same time. What is most precious about them is the inner space that they point out; a realm that, in this book, is inhabited by the community of all who see with the eyes of wisdom. Someone who is able to produce such photographs must also have such eyes.”
Roger Willemsen / Germany
“So many eyes… so many religions…but the same truth: Ralf Tooten makes religion live for us, no matter whether we are believers or atheists. This, too, is made clear in the multitude of wonderfully beautiful photographs: Human freedom is also reflected in religion.”
Dario Fo, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature / Italy
“If it is possible for us to approach and come up close to wisdom through the eyes of a human being, then it is Ralf Tooten who shows us how human beings can come close to God through the sensitivity of his artistic vision into the “Eyes of Wisdom” – not to one single, particular God, but rather to each and every imaginable God.” “If it is possible for us to approach and come up close to wisdom through the eyes of a human being, then it is Ralf Tooten who shows us how human beings can come close to God through the sensitivity of his artistic vision into the “Eyes of Wisdom” – not to one single, particular God, but rather to each and every imaginable God.”
Leoluca Orlando, Writer/ Italy
A SMALL PIECE OF TRUE ARTISTRY, RALF TOOTEN, ROGER WILLEMSEN, “BANGKOK NOIR”
Is one closer to the essence of things at night? One asks oneself this when lea ng through “Bangkok Noir,” a book about Bangkok at night. Ralf Tooten took the photos, Roger Willemsen contributed a magical text. Rating: 5/6
There are times when photography is like someone calling out in the twilight, appearing out of nowhere. Chimeras, an image taking shape out of the darkness or about to sink into the dusk. Darkness itself is sometimes light enough for photography, a place of lucid insight into the world. The night is never entirely dark, twilight’s veil is never completely impenetrable, darkness is never total.There is always light, everywhere
“Bangkok Noir” is a photo volume by the photographer Ralf Tooten, who was born in Germany and has lived in Bangkok for the last few years. A book completely devoted to the night, to darkness. Is one closer to the essence of things at night? One asks oneself this when leading through the book. It collects forays through the city, records images hidden in the dusk. 300 photos of great suggestive power by the Hasselblad Master Award winner Tooten are accompanied by an essay by Roger Willemsen, who lived in the city for three months.
We see a dark, abundantly exotic world of nightclubs, karaoke bars and massage salons, we marvel at the fighters in kickball studios, wander through night markets, view temples, eating at restaurants, slums, outpatient clinics and gigantic construction sites. There are fortune-tellers, tattooers, gamblers, cook shops grilling insects, elephants camping on the barren ground under bridges, even a “Penis Shrine” waiting for offerings. An iridescent nocturnal cosmos of Southeast Asia’s peculiarities, only a few hours away from the airports of Central Europe.
What makes this book special is its combination of images and text. Both together result in a small piece of true artistry, a meeting, shimmering instant in time, a tribute to “Bangkok in black,” to life at night, to life itself. A travelogue of a different sort, one that is the greatest pleasure to see and read.The Picture Book:
Roger Willemsen + Ralf Tooten ( german language )
368 Pages, Hardcover
ISBN 978-3-10-092106-2 S.
Many accompanied Exhibitions & Public Readings all over Germany, Switzerland, Austria 2009-2011