on artists and missionaries

“Every artist, in a sense, is missionary. He tries to convey a message to his fellow man – he communicates the awesome presence of truth and beauty he discover in the world around him, in its lakes and mountains, trees, rocks and plants, in its living creatures. Down through the centuries poets, sculptors, painters and now photographers, have also been striving to grasp and immortalize the beauty of the human body, both male and female. I see in these forms the elemental relationship to the large forms of nature; a sense of strength like a rock – fluidity like water – space like a mountain range. If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century. We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness be the twist of the mind. Woman has been target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission – the reason for my work.”

Ruth Bernhard

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