‘As An Ancient Priest’


When I look at this portrait I see myself.


I see myself now and in ancient Athens circa 200 AD. In Athens I am a priest. In the present, I am a photographer projecting my likeness into the past.


Although we may believe we exist uniquely now, that we are each of us, the singular product of this moment in time -- we are in fact, also the product of all the generations that preceded us. We have inherited gene and meme to be present and developed in the here and now.


I chose to meld my image with this Greco-Roman bust for its surprise, its anonymity, its form and its essential heritage. I have always been fascinated with the ancient world. I love exploring ruins, following archaic roads and learning about ancient civilizations.


This portrait also reminds me of our mortality. In this image I see both life and lifelessness. The flesh blends into the stone. It is a kind of immediate fossilization. This makes the image an inspiration to act. We can see how little time on earth we have to make our own histories. How close we are to stone.


I love the visual contrasts here. The light stone and the timeless darkness beyond. The slabs colors of the stone and the pink of warm flesh. A gilding in the shadows. The intense whiteness of the highlights. The tendriled marble cracks. The dishevelled thin hairs of the eyebrows versus the tight clipped curls of the stone beard.


When I fitted my digitized face to the ancient sculpture, there was a moment of real connection when I was blending the images. My face appeared to surface on the bust. It felt  we are not so different. Thousands of years were like a moment.

 © 2019  Peter J Baumgartner.    

  • PJB Instagram