Media Review: Atman by Bernd Kolb

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The soul is an infinite ocean of just beautiful energy and presence made manifest in human form (Panache Desai)

Today’s media review is about Atman by Bernd Kolb (ISBN: 978-3724310570). This book was published in September 2015 by terra magica /Reich Verlag. This book is in German language, comprises 192 pages, hardcover. It costs 50 EUR and is available in the German bookselling trade and on Amazon.

Atman by Bernd Kolb

The book Atman is a picturebook which invites the reader or rather the ‘viewer’ to realize and ‘see’ Atman, the divine spark, in the extraordinary pictures that Bernd Kolb took on his journeys through Asia. Bernd Kolb is known as an internet pioneer and German entrepreneur of the year 1998. The first station in his journey was Marrakesh (2007) where he restored a traditional city palace with centuries-old methods.

Atman by Bernd Kolb, terra magica 2015

Atman by Bernd Kolb, terra magica 2015

In 2012, he went on his journey to Asia in order to find out more about traditional sources of wisdom. Hence, soon the idea for comprising the book ‘Atman’ was born. The photos are predominantly portraits of people whom he encountered during his wisdom journey through Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. However, there are also a few stunning pictures of landscapes like the Mae Hong Son province in Northern Thailand and an amazing picture of an elephant’s eye.

Padaung woman from Cambodia, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

Padaung woman from Cambodia, the Padaung belong to the tribes of the Karen who also live in Thailand, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

Atman may also be described as ‘soul’ or ‘essence of life’. In the 3000 years old Vedas, ‘Atman’ is called the divine spark in every (human) being. Thus, it can also be understood as the truth behind all appearances. Hence, the photographer tries to capture the ‘soul’ or ‘divine spark’ of his counterpart in his pictures. Thus, it is the authors aim to show that all beings are connected to each other through ‘Atman’.

A nun from Myanmar, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

A Buddhist nun from Myanmar, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

The book starts with a foreword by Jane Goodall followed by the author’s introduction in which he tells the reader about his motivation, intentions and his wisdom journey through Asia. The main part of the book consists of the photos followed by the caption in which the author tells us who the people photographed are. He tells the reader something about their story, where he met them and what they mean to him.

A dancer from Bali, Ubud in contemplation, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

A dancer from Nusa Penida, a small island near Bali, in contemplation before his performance, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

Old Soul, Bali, Ubud, Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

Old Soul, a 5 year old girl from Ubud, Indonesia Copyright (c) Bernd Kolb

I think that ‘Atman’ by Bernd Kolb offers the viewer an emotional journey to discover the ‘soul’ of human beings. Hence, the book is very inspiring and even like a meditation to me. When I look at the photos for some minutes, it seems that the pictures come alive. Bernd Kolb truly shares magical moments of presence. Thus, I can feel a connection to the people in the pictures.

In a nutshell, I find ‘Atman’ by Bernd Kolb truly precious and an amazing book. Thus, it is also a great gift for people who like photography, the extraordinary and the magical. The book invites the viewer to take his time and to dwell on the portraits and the impression that they give.

Yours, Sirinya

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