Abdu’l-Bahá – 1

Photo of painting by Reza Samimi


The Guardian's Wishes

After restoring a photograph that I took of Reza Samimi’s painting, I became aware of the following quote regarding the sale of photographs of paintings of The Master:

“Though he sees no objection to people having portraits of the Master in their homes, if it gives them pleasure, he prefers that for distribution and for purchase, they should confine themselves to His photographs, as these are, of course, a much more perfect likeness of Him.”

Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated July 11, 1942.

Schloss Studios Photograph


Schloss Photograph

     I was fortunate to be able to scan the Schloss photograph that was used by Samimi for his now famous and popular painting.

     This photo was taken in 1912 by Schloss Studios of New York, NY.

     Desiring to get the history of this image I tried to find living relatives of the photographer; but, was unsuccessful in my attempts. 

     Since the copyright protection for this image has long since expired I was comfortable restoring, enhancing, and colorizing this photograph. 

Schloss/Duszinski Photograph

I restored, enhanced and colorized the Schloss photograph.  A skin tone was assigned to each monochrome pixel. By “enhancement” I mean to say that I matched Samimi composition and brush stroke on innate objects in the photo. I offered my image for approval to our administrative order. On 18 May 2009 it was determined that my image could be considered a photograph, and as such, that I was able to offer it to the friends. So humbly - I offer my contributions to the history of this image to you.



Since the original approval of this image, I continue to strive to make the Schloss/Duszynski photo (my colorization) more realistic and accurate.  With approval of the Office of Review of the National Assembly of the USA, my image continues to evolved from the approved original.  I think you can see the differences:

First, the rose in the photo was ‘white’ and not as Samimi painted it. This was confirmed in a story by Grace Robarts Ober in the book Mother’s Stories: Recollections of Abdu’l-Baha by Muiel Ives Barrow Newhall, so naturally, I had to change the color to white.
Second, over the years I have done digital pore by pore skin grafts of The Master’s face from more accurate photographs of him.  In doing so, I eliminated 777 hairs from The Master’s beard.  
And lastly, I changed the lighting affect on the entire photograph from incandescent to sunlight.
Thus, as it stands now, this is the most recent version of what I call “The Schloss/Duszynski photograph”…

The restored, enhanced, and/or colorized photographs on this page have been approved for sale by the appropriate Baha’i institution and thereby are in compliance with all the guidance of the Universal House of Justice. If you desire to see the approval notification, I am happy to share it with you. It is imperative to be mindful that ‘approval’ is not in anyway an ‘endorsement’ of my work.





 ENHANCEMENT NOTES: The photographs above are color scans of the original photographs. The color is due to the aging of the silver which gives the photograph this interesting patina.

Photograph [ P-10 ] was taken in France by Boissonnas & Taponier. It is believed to be the portrait that The Master liked most of all those that were taken of him. In fact, he is known to have presented this image  personally to some of the friends in the United States on his visit.  

I was blessed to be able to make an ultra high resolution color scans of 12 original photographs, which accounts for the exquisite detail; and, further blessed that I was able to preserve the patina of the original silver gel print. One of the color scans revealed a blue tint in the Master’s eyes which was hand tinted by Boissonnas & Taponier  studio. They also created a colorized version for publication.




ENHANCEMENT NOTES: This colorization conforms with guidance of the Universal House of Justice and has been reviewed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. 

The color of The Master’s eyes is noted in Priceless Pearl. In addition to that information, I was blessed to have scanned and original photograph that Boissonnas & Taponier themselves hand tinted in their studio. A color match was also taken from a color corrected photo of Reza Samimi’s painting.

In striving for perfection in my colorization of the Master’s eyes, I consulted a prominent Baha’i ophthalmologist to make certain that my colorization of the blood vessels in the Master’s eyes were correct. This is accurate down to a pixel - or if you prefer - a pin point.

The skin color of the Master matches the colorized publish photograph that Boissonnas & Taponier created and the color Reza Samimi used in his portrait. I am confident that the skin temperature is within one half a degree of the aforementioned colorizations, i.e. temperatures.

It is amazing to see how colorization impacts a monochrome image. The image takes on a completely different feeling.   

This is a restoration if from a SCAN of the original photo which was taken by studio "Lafayette, Ltd. - London, et. al." who advertised that they were the "Photographers to the King and Queen".

These images were taken in 1912 in New Hampshire by a Mrs Cabot. I am certain that you will agree that she was truly blessed to have had this experience with the Beloved Master. 

When I came across these photos they were badly in need of restoration. I restored them in their original sepia tone. Mrs Cabot had them mounted on initialed gold foiled mat board. 

I thought they were too precious not to be shared.  I hope Mrs Cabot agrees.





The gold border matches the  mat color that Mrs Cabot used when she matted and offered these images for collectors.