BEFORE (the iconoclasm): God told Moses on a mountain there should be “no graven images” of Him. So things were pretty clear until ‘God took human form’ as Jesus. It made sense to not make an image of God, because that would call for trying to visually define God, which isn't feasible. Well, it’s feasible but certainly not as feasible as producing images of Jesus. He’s a human and his face (probably) existed in reality (unlike God’s). When Christians stopped getting persecuted around the 4th century religious images of Jesus got popular. 


Things began to change in 630 AD when Mohammad destroyed all pagan symbols and statues of Arab Gods in Mecca while on his mission to deliver his message from Allah. It was then seen as idol worship to worship statues and Islam’s view of icons turned negative. Meanwhile images of Jesus, Mary and other holy things were popping up left and right in the Christian world. In fact, most of the art created in this time was in the name of religion. Well, Islam and Christianity encountered each other (and fought each other (Crusades)), which brought fourth the question of depicting religious icons for Christians, since it’s firmly rejected by Muslims.


DURING (the iconoclasm): In 726, the church split and the eastern church said icons were no longer allowed. This is known as the iconoclasm.


“Byzantine Iconoclasm refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities within the Eastern Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy.”


A disagreement has to be pretty serious to split an ‘empire/religion combo.’ Religious authorities in the Eastern Church were given their orders to dismantle the images in churches and so it began. But it ended soon. 


The Eastern Church was only icon-less (or more like icon hunters), until 787 when the eastern and western church came together again and agreed that images of Jesus, Mary, Angels and Saints could be depicted in 2-D images. So the charge to destroy icons and evidence of Jesus’ face ended. 


But then it happened again from 814-842. 


TODAY: It is clear that these images are not innocent! Wars were fought and empires were broken apart over images. To this day Muslims believe never to depict their holy figures so firmly a political cartoon should seriously take that belief into consideration when visualizing Islam related cartoons. On the other hand, icons and images of Jesus/ Mary/ saints are to be found everywhere


This photo series tries to show these icons as a consumer product. A statue of Jesus can be manufactured an infinite number of times and be the same every time, like a can of coke.


CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTO SERIES : 'images are not innocent