The intensity of Dominica’s photography reminds us of what the Chinese painter Hsieh Ho wrote in 500 A.D.: ” If a work of art has Ch’i, it inevitably reflects a vitality of spirit that is the essence of life itself.”
Manhattan Arts International, 1995
Newly released at Aluna Editions : Pearls of Consciousness, a beautiful collection of black and white portraits of spiritual friends which I have taken over the years with my Leica. The texts accompanying each portrait are bilingual English-French.None of the portraits has been reframed at the printing stage.
FOREWORD by ARNAUD DESJARDINS
As a former filmmaker myself, I am sensitive to photographic art and I have been a long-time admirer of Dominica’s portraits. The austerity of black-and-white, without any of the distraction of colours, reveals the depth expressed by the surface.
With rigour and also keeping her heart and her spirit wide open, Dominica brought together in this volume the oh so many different faces of men and women who are the witnesses of equally different forms of Spiritual Life. We know that « the Spirit blows where it likes ». Therefore the first virtue is to be open and welcoming to others – even if the form of their commitment differs from ours.
The faces which Dominica’s perseverance brought together in a book are there to remind us of that.
May at least some of them find an echo in you and orient you not towards their wisdom, but towards your own.
Concerning those I have met in person, what touched me most on discovering them, is their love of others, their essential kindness – even if the latter sometimes takes an unexpected «face».
Some excerpts :
You will understand the secret of bliss if you meditate on the nature of the Self. It is all there, contained in you alone. The joy we get through contact with worldly things is only an infinitesimal fraction of the bliss we will find within.
Where are you when the bird sings ?
Your spiritual practice consists only in saying yes to the now.
…, the Sufi tradition preaches the middle path between the temporal and the spiritual, between the law, Share’a, and the truth, Al Haqeqa. While the first is a means of worship, some sort of help and a safeguard allowing us to conquer our passions, attenuate the ego, and open the heart to generosity and the respect of others, the second allows us to live the intimate experience of the divine presence.
Cheikh Khaled Bentounès
Who would you be without your story ?
My thinking creates time and time creates my thinking. Within time-thinking, I maintain the illusory sense of self-identity and separation… I think therefore I continue.
There is only awareness, there is no ‘‘one’’ being aware.
Dominica: Portraits of Remarkable Beings
Published on Feb 25, 2015
Dominica’s work, Pearls of Consciousness: An Invitation to Meet Remarkable Beings, (Aluna, 2013), is a remarkable collection of black and white portraits of 52 sages and spiritual teachers she took over the years from 1992 to 2012, together with powerful quotations and a short biography and bibliography of each.
Dominica was born near Paris in 1962 as Dominique Herbin. After studying Literature in Paris and Law at King’s College in London and later at the Sorbonne in Paris, she passed the Paris and New York Bars and worked as an associate in large law firms in Boston and New York. She soon gave up this work which left her essential questions unanswered in order to follow her bliss.
She began exploring her creativity through life drawing, painting and eventually black and white photography. At the same time, she dedicated herself to the approach of the body through the regular practice of aikido (2nd dan, B.F.) and tai-chi-chuan. In the process, she discovered the teachings of the great sages and in particular the perennial philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
Pivotal in her spiritual journey and towards the making of her book were her encounter with the French film maker Arnaud Desjardins who encouraged her in her work as a portrait photographer, her yearly prilgrimages to the sacred mountain Arunachala in South India and finally her meeting with her yoga teacher Eric Baret who initiated her to the practice of yoga according to the non-dual tradition of Kashmir Shivaism. Today Dominica lives in France where she teaches yoga and tai chi chuan and offers week end workshops around Pearls of Consciousness and her yoga practice. For more information visit her website : http://dominicah.free.fr