Photography •  Religion and Anthropology

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Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited

Photographs by Rick Nahmias

2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Winner

Taking California as a window into the diversity of religion in America, Golden States of Grace documents marginalized communities at prayer in their own faith traditions. The collection is thoroughly interfaith, introducing us to the nation's only halfway house for addicts self-identified as Jewish, a transsexual gospel choir, a Buddhist community in San Quentin, a Mormon congregation organized by the deaf for the deaf, Latina sex workers worshipping the female folk deity Santísima Muerte, and more. Depictions of conventional middle-class religion are widely visible in the media, but the American public rarely sees the sacred worlds of society's marginalized: the outcasts, the fallen, those that have been labeled "other" - ironically, those whom religion aims to serve. The poignant stories Nahmias has gathered here cross numerous boundaries and ask difficult questions few outsiders have been willing to pose.

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Los Angeles Times

A clothbound numbered limited edition of this title (including a signed print) is available through the photographer's studio. For information, please contact:


Rick Nahmias is a documentary photographer, writer, and filmmaker whose work has been shown across the United States, Europe, and Asia. His photographs are part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian and reside in several private and public collections across the country..

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" Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited is a curious but deeply affecting and poignant book, an unusual but powerful mixture of commentary, oral history, empathy, and straightforward portraiture."


Bloomsbury Review

"Rick Nahmias's depth photography places a mirror before us that reflects the hidden self of the 'other' and thereby the hidden self of the viewer. Through Nahmias's penetrating art, we sense the dignity of those bowed down, along with the promise in their resilience. Through the eye of the camera, the soul of the conscience is touched."


Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, Valley Beth Shalom, Encion, California; Founder, Jewish World Watch; Founder, Jewish Foundation for the Righteous

9.5 x 11 in. 232 pages 92 duotones