×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert
     

Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert

by Tony O'Brien
 

In 1968 the Trappist monk Thomas Merton visited the Benedictine monastery Christ in the Desert, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, shortly after it was founded. His writings and photographs of his experience brought the secluded monastery to the attention of a wider community of people seeking sanctuary and spiritual inspiration. After being imprisoned in Afghanistan while

Overview

In 1968 the Trappist monk Thomas Merton visited the Benedictine monastery Christ in the Desert, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, shortly after it was founded. His writings and photographs of his experience brought the secluded monastery to the attention of a wider community of people seeking sanctuary and spiritual inspiration. After being imprisoned in Afghanistan while on assignment for Life magazine in 1989, photojournalist Tony O'Brien sought solace and perspective at the monastery. He returned in 1994 to do a story and, in the process, became a practicing member of the community. During his yearlong residency, O'Brien was granted rare access to photograph the monastery and the daily activities and offices that have been kept in a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. O'Brien's camera became an instrument of contemplation and spiritual healing, his reverent photographs reflecting, as well, the harsh beauty and austerity of the monastic life. In an accompanying essay, poet Christopher Merrill follows the daily offices of the monastery, weaving threads of history, theology, and spirituality.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1994, photojournalist O'Brien (documentary photography, Santa Fe Univ. of Art & Design; Afghan Dreams) joined a small Benedictine monastery in New Mexico and lived there as a monk for one year. This book presents three complex stories. Poet Christopher Merrill tells the first story in his introductory essay of the community's history and current culture. The second story is told through O'Brien's diary, which he kept while staying at the monastery; it also includes deep reflections from after he was captured as a journalist in Afghanistan by the government in 1989. The third story is told through O'Brien's 72 black-and-white images, which capture the barren landscape and the domestic and spiritual life of those living in the monastery. Each story adds a layer of meaning to the previous, giving readers a sense of satisfaction as well as leaving them with lingering questions. The book accompanies an exhibit that will be on display at the New Mexico History Museum through January 2013. VERDICT Of interest to students of photography and readers interested in contemplative and religious studies.—Valerie Nye, Santa Fe Univ. of Art and Design, NM

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780890135334
Publisher:
Museum of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 13.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
3 Months

Meet the Author

Tony O'Brien teaches photography at the Marion Center of Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. His work as a photojournalist has appeared in many national and international publications. He is author of Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Christopher Merrill is the director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has written four collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water and Watch Fire; has translated Scale and Stairs and Because of the Rain: An Anthology of Korean Zen Poetry; and authored several books of nonfiction, including Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews