In spring 1961 while I was living in New York City studying acting. While photography was just a hobby, I got an impetus to return to California where I had lived previously, thinking the move would be good for my career. I rented an apartment in Hollywood across the street from the Montecito Hotel, frequented by actors. One day at the hotel’s pool a man was reading a book entitled "World Order," a title that intrigued me, and I asked him what the book was about. O.Z. Whitehead, a character actor, replied, “It’s about the Bahá’í Faith.” I got to know Zebby (his nickname), a gentle, soft spoken soul, who took me to Bahá’í gatherings. Shortly thereafter I accepted the Bahá’í Faith.
In 1988 my wife, Inée, and I were asked to come to Haifa, Israel to photograph the international election of the members of the Universal House of Justice, the leading administrative body of the Bahá’í Faith. It was a remarkable election process without campaigning or nominations. It was inspiring to photograph the peaceful gatherings, delegates representing a broad cross section of humankind from over 160 countries.
While in Haifa I met Novin and Juliet Doostdar of Oneworld Publications. We discussed undertaking a photographic coffee table book on the Bahá’í Faith. My exciting sojourn began, traveling over a few years in numerous countries photographing Bahá’ís and their community life.
The Bahá’í Faith has been a source of guidance for me, spiritually and practically. Finding the teachings at an early age has been a generous gift and continued solace. In my world travels I have been fortunate to meet magnificent people who believe in the oneness of God, the oneness of the prophets, and the oneness of mankind. I have attempted to portray in my pictures in the book a glimmer of what a united world can be like on our troubled planet.
-- Paul Slaughter