I recently discovered the haunting beauty and spirituality of the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi, who was a scholar, teacher and mystical poet of 13th century Turkey. Born in the Afghanistani area of the Persian Empire in 1207, he originated the form of meditation called the "turn," or moving meditation practiced by the dervishes of Turkey. Upon reading some of his poems which express the mystery of this form of meditation, it occurred to me to do a series of self-portraits inspired by my response to Rumi's extraordinary verbal images.
The photographs were done with a 4x5 pinhole camera; lighting was one photoflood; exposures were upwards of 2 to 3 minutes. The prints are VanDyke Brown on Cranes Platinotype paper. The texts were printed on acetate and superimposed on brushed flame-shaped areas of cyanotype. I assembled the images and text into an accordion-fold book with hard cloth-wrapped covers.
The book in question is: "The Essential Rumi," translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, published by Harper Collins, 1995 (ISBN: 0-06-250958-6).