A Minox in Mecca

Every year millions of Muslims from around the world converge in Mecca for what is known to be the largest religious gathering on the planet.  It is because of the Hajj that the city of Mecca has been a crossroads for humanity since the time of Abraham, when many of the rituals of this pilgrimage were first established.  The journey to visit the house of God that Abraham built remains one of the great spiritual exercises that draws mankind together and demonstrates fundamental elements of our shared humanity that transcend ethnicity and political affiliation. When I went to Mecca I wanted to photograph the events of this great gathering from the perspective of someone actually performing the rituals. Often seen only in panoramic views from the tops of tall buildings, I used the Minox sub-micro camera to capture a series of raw and unposed images of people on Hajj.  I also used a an old Nikon FE2 35mm with black and white Scala film.

When I looked at the pictures that I had captured I felt the images could convey some of the great traditions which Islamic Civilization has sustained during the past 1400 years.  I knew of no comparable collection of imagery from Hajj which is so close to the action and so embedded within the experience.  They could educate people about one of the pillars of the religion of which little is known, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Furthermore I saw in the pictures a sense of great personal sacrifice, the spirit of brotherhood and unity, and the simplicity of the rituals which bring Muslims back to the most basic understanding of themselves, their relationship with each other and their relationship with their Creator.