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Sacred Photography


When Vintage is Sacred

Temple Archive TA2021The enchanting mystique of vintage photographs are brought to life in our Fellowship Archives project. While our nonprofit organization procures and digitizes both vintage and contemporary photography, the archival collection has a focus on original prints and digital images of rare meditative photos primarily from India, mostly taken during the second half of the 19th century.

Thematic portfolios feature pioneering photographers from the early days of photography who captured the nuances of the Indic architectural heritage including Vedic temples. The growing collection explores the philosophical roots and spiritual depth of architectural and natural wonders.

Remastering of Photos

Archive Restoration Before & AfterThe faded originals when remastered properly, exhibit the added dimensions of historicity by highlighting the philosophy and portraying the ethos. They become living windows to a hallowed heritage along the hallways and corridors of time. Unlike a museum collection which would prefer to showcase the antiquity or a university collection which would be focused on researching cultural heritage and art techniques, our nonprofit platform prefers to preserve the vintage original and share the restored art to the interested public. The central idea herein is to create a coherent storyline by recreating the original mystique, honour what the photographers would have seen and connect the art with the Sanskritic lore. Thus we prefer using trained artists to bring about a mindful re-envisioning, especially when the original is dilapidated or faded. This is our way to share prints and images that would otherwise be lost to private collectors or the ravages of time.

Limited Edition Release

The Vedic monks serving the Hansavedas Mission rely on their meditative understanding to choose or embellish a particular portfolio and hence guide the procurement of originals. They use a lore or a theme to identify matching imagery that helps define the importance of completing a collection. The limited edition releases to the public are preceded by months of research, remastering and careful assignment in order to make the images appealing to the public.

The released individual framed prints or limited edition framed prints are shared with the public primarily via a silent auction at the annual benefit event known by its Sanskrit name, Sattwadharman. Some of the rare photos are signed with a citation by the head monk for posterity. Anti-reflective glass is used for framing to honour the quality of the work process. In addition, the organization is building its resources in order to feature the release of albums and larger collections at public exhibitions. When such exhibitions become feasible, regular purchase of framed photos might become possible through these additional avenues of release. Until then, besides the framed photos made available at the annual Sattwadharman benefit event, several unframed photo prints are made affordably available at publications.hansavedas.org

Sattwadharman Annual Benefit

Thoughts from an Art Historian



“Look deep into these images and you will see that the vision quest glows in such a way that we ‘see the light’—and we see the treasure that is the conception of our own inner light, which these images call forth. When you behold these images you behold three visions: that of the intrepid early photographer, the re- mastered light and life-giving vision of the present day artist, Swami Vidyadhishananda, and the inner message which enflames our own inner light.

These photographs are living symbols of the capacity of living illumination. When, and if, you choose to hang these images, to witness their light daily, may you be enlightened by their enduring message contained in the three-fold structure, whose composition necessarily includes you as part of an enduring artistic and spiritual heritage. The ontological lights they offer us, in summary, are also three-part: the light of time and history, the light of intelligence and wisdom and craft, and the light of inner conception. As I am an appraiser and professor of Art History, I see myself in these treasured re-mastered archival images the true phenomenon of light itself. I am grateful for the calm, quiet, and profound re-visioning of that light.”

– Elizabeth Stewart, Certified Art Appraiser
elizabethappraisals.com

WHAT YOU SUPPORT

Your donation towards this project supports the research and acquisition of new vintage photography, as well as special portfolios and albums. Volunteers and staff often have to travel and examine the originals before procurement and such activities come under the acquisition phase. You also support digitization and remastering process by accomplished artists, as well as the physical and digital infrastructure needed for long-term preservation.