These pictures were made in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bratislava, Germany, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles for my project 15000 Buddhas. They are only a fragment of the total collection, my current favorites. They are arranged in reverse chronological order, moving from newest back in time.
Over the years I have been struck by the nature of Buddha figures, their calm, their serenity and their evident wisdom. I often photographed them. As I looked further, I saw that Buddhas were not alone. There were figures and symbols from many religions intended to cause reflection, to inspire feelings of being present and to express deeper spiritual ideas. It seemed to me that seen together, the images would resonate with one another and that their juxtaposition might create new understanding. Fifteen Thousand Buddhas then is my project to photograph thousands of religious icons, capturing the feelings they inspire.
The name refers to a famous thousand year old Korean painting which appears to be a single Buddha but which when closely approached reveals itself to be fifteen thousand infinitesimally small individual Buddhas all painted to create the larger image. Like that painting I want these pictures taken together to become something greater.
Each image is my attempt to see the intention of the artist who created the icon as well as the qualities the icon represents.
The icons come from many religions. By project’s end, I hope to have something representative of every religion. Fifteen Thousand Buddhas is becoming a kaleidoscope of pictures; a wealth of images intended to generate thoughtful and contemplative feeling. I hope it is rich enough to invite repeated viewings and to repay those viewings with a fresh view every time.
I think the best way to get an overview of this work is in slideshow mode. Just click on the slideshow button upper right, turn up Stuart Balcomb's beautiful music and settle in.
All images and text copyright Andy Romanoff© - all rights reserved