GROWING UP in the church in North America, James C. Lewis was
"confused" by the illustrations that accompanied Bible stories.
"I thought the Bible only consisted of white patriarchs," he
explains. "Once I reached my teens, I started to study and
discovered that this was a complete fabrication of the truth."
Now a professional photographer, Mr Lewis is seeking to change
the story for those who "have yet to see themselves depicted in the
pages of biblical history".
His Icons of the Bible series features models from
a wide variety of backgrounds - "Native Americans, Indians,
Polynesians, Asians, Latinos, West Indians and American Blacks".
Each depicts a character from both the Old or New Testaments. From
an Angel Gabriel with magnificent dreadlocks, to a veiled Rebecca,
the pictures are a riposte to what he regards as a long-standing
"white-washing" of the Bible
"The first depiction of Jesus and the saints was commissioned by
the de'Medici family of Florence, Italy, and they used members of
their family to capture the images of Jesus and the Holy Mother
Mary," he explains. "The disciples were Italian convicts who posed
for Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper. With that being said
you now see how this unrealistic, non-factual depiction has made
its way through the centuries of publications, statues, paintings
and every other form of artistic representation. As the saying
goes: 'The story is always told according the person writing
He hopes that the story told by Icons will bring about
a "ground-breaking realisation of the truth", including
illustrations in Bibles.
"All publications should include a more accurate depiction of
what is clearly written in the scriptures," he says. "Common reason
will lead most of us to the conclusion that there is no way these
people could have originated in Africa and the Middle East and be
blonde-haried, blue-eyed individuals with lily-white skin. At best
they would have been a people whose complexions ranged from olive
to the deepest mahogany. I intend to show the world all the great
icons of the Bible in all their rich, colourful splendour! It's not
just a white man's story. It's something that includes each and
every one of us on this planet."
Icons Of The Bible will be on display from
November to February 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.