An Afternoon With Peter Sanders: Photographer of the Muslim World

After hearing about the Bradford Literature Festival, I decided to look through the list of events on offer throughout the week. The Bradford Literature Festival is a week long festival which offers people the chance to attend a range of events. Running annually, events range from book launches, kids events and spoken word poetry by a range of authors, poets, musicians and artists from around the globe. Running from the 28th June – 7th July, it truly is a remarkable week for those living in Bradford, as well as for visitors, as there are over 500 events organised in over 10 great venues.

The event that caught my eye was an event titled, ‘Meetings with Mountains‘ which was to be led by Peter Sanders and Shaykh Habib al-Jifri. It was more of a book launch than anything else with Peter Sanders explaining what he went through in compiling the book.

Peter Sanders and Shaykh Habib have been friends and close companions for a number of years now. When Peter got news that he was to launch his book in the festival, he immediately contacted Shaykh Habib to see if he could make it for the event. Without needing to consult anyone, Shaykh Habib immediately accepted the invitation and made plans to attend.

Peter Sanders (also known as Abd al-Adheem) converted to Islam at the age of 24 after leaving behind photographing famous singers and instead taking photos of Muslims and Mosques. In the event, Shaykh Habib mentioned, ‘It’s an immense thing that someone has spent 50 years of his life looking for these faces [of Islam]’. Peter did not just look for Muslims when photographing, but more specifically hidden luminaries that were in no way interested to be known to the world. After photographing the Muslim world for 50 years and gaining the title ‘photographer of the Muslim World’, Peter compiled a 368 paged book packed with photos of Ulama [scholars of Islam] and Awliyah [friends of God] along with personal anecdotes and stories from his personal life.

Below is a video which illustrates his project, Meetings With Mountains:

He had a unique eye as a photographer for the people he confronted with his camera. It was almost as if he could measure the high level of peacefulness instilled within these individuals he would photograph. He mentions himself, ‘people usually look for peace, but I saw the people I photographed living peace’.

If you’re interested in purchasing his book, click here.

Image Credit: The National []

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