A True Portrait of Tom Bethell – Discovery Institute

Photo: Tom Bethell, by Laszlo Bencze.

Sometimes words can capture, partly, a human personality, or at least give a glimpse. Other times a photo or other portrait speaks eloquently in a way that words cant. Photographer Laszlo Bencze has taken photos of intelligent design proponents and Darwin skeptics, including several portraits of journalist Tom Bethell, whose passing I noted here yesterday. Tom was 84 years old. Bencze sent a beautiful and expressive photo of him, reproduced above with permission, along with this:

I am very saddened to hear of Tom Bethells death. Not only was he pivotal in my turning away from Darwinism due to his 1976 Harpers article, which I clipped from the magazine and still have, but we also became friends during one of his visits to California. He allowed me to do an edit on his book,Darwins House of Cards. It was so well written that my suggestions were rather minor. He was erudite and a true gentleman.

The photo was taken in Laszlos living room in 2013. Im no photographer but it seems to me that what the artist is trying to do is capture an image not just of the subjects body but of his heart, whatever we understand that to mean (personality, will, spirit), maybe even his soul. In my estimation, this portrait succeeds.

This occurs to me, not pertaining to Tom Bethell alone. Take a moment to browse Laszlos other photos. I was struck by his images of Flannery OConnors home, including one of her typewriter and writing desk. The photo is accompanied by this quotation from a letter she wrote:

A story really isnt any good unless it successfully resists paraphrase, unless it hangs on and expands in the mind. Properly, you analyze to enjoy, but its equally true that to analyze with any discrimination, you have to have enjoyed already

The same might be true of photos or of people. Were reminded of this when people die, and at other times.

I was going to say that the way Toms right eye is illuminated, in a penetrating manner, speaks to me. Suggesting a penetrating intellect, or some such thing. But you know what? That falls absurdly flat. When we try to paraphrase summarize, or indicate in words what draws us to someone or something and find that it successfully resists paraphrase, then we know were in the presence of something very good. The more secure the stronghold against paraphrase, the more special the object of our failed praise.

See more here:

A True Portrait of Tom Bethell - Discovery Institute

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