Aumphotos ॐ: Blog en-us (C) ॐ Aumphotos [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Mon, 13 Jul 2020 18:51:00 GMT Mon, 13 Jul 2020 18:51:00 GMT Aumphotos ॐ: Blog 120 83 Photography, Learning and inequalities in a pandemic I we are all in it together I

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it has had massive health, financial, social and psychological ramifications; ten million infections and half a million deaths. Until last week, the UK had registered 59,537 excess deaths since the week ending March 20, indicating that the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million – the highest per capita death rate in the world (1). The GDP has dropped by 20% with tens of thousands job losses (2). Consequent proscription of freedom of assembly (imposed social isolation, lockdown) under Regulation 6 Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and enhanced surveillance has had major social and psychological effects.

Social isolation during COVID-19 has also exposed differences between people. The wealthy live in their second homes with garden, while zero hour contract workers are off work either via redundancy or furlough. Review of UK Office for National Statistics data has shown a two fold difference in age adjusted mortality rate between the least and most deprived London boroughs (3).

We are all in it together - NOT.  Inequalities in age adjusted COVID-19 mortality rates associated with :

1. Ethnicity ( relative risk ratio 2.69 for BAME clinicians vs caucasian - ICNARC database) (4) . Confirmed by Institute for Fiscal studies research ( threefold)(5)

2. Deprivation (relative risk ratio 2.39 - see Fig from ONS) (6) and

3. Rural vs urban living. ( relative risk ratio 6 -see Fig from ONS) (7)

4. Gender : 70% ITU patients are men ( ICNARC database). 51% men die, 43% women die (8)

5. Obesity - a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/ sq m doubled your chance of needing ICU care in New York. A BMI greater than 35 increases risk 3.6 fold. Remember survival rates in ITU are only 50 % (9)

6. Deprivation - UK areas where there is higher deprivation scores ( Newham, Brent, Hackney)  have over twice the excess deaths of areas with low deprivation ( Office for National Statistics ) (6)

7. Religion - Jewish males had a mortality rate of 187.9 deaths per 100,000, compared with 92.6 deaths per 100,000 for Christian males.
For Jewish females, the rate was 94.3 deaths per 100,000, compared with 54.6 deaths per 100,000 for Christian females.
Muslim males had the highest rates of death involving Covid-19, with 199 deaths per 100,000 for men of all ages, and 98 deaths per 100,000 for women. (10)


The images of lockdown taken in a wealthy part of England highlight the differences described: Croquet hoops and post, a Porsche parked outside a cooperative supermarket, and a well-stocked cellar of vintage wines ( Alcohol sales in March 2020 during COVID-19 lockdown went up by 31.4% (11, 12)) which caused Baroness Ilora Finlay, Chair of the Commission on Alcohol harms to write an editorial in the British Medical Journal (13) .

Edith Tudor-Hart (1908 - 1973) was an Austrian-British photographer who studied photography  at the Bauhaus. She submitted photographs on inequality for The ListenerThe Social Scene and Design Today, dealing with issues such as refugees from the Spanish Civil War and industrial decline in the north-east of England. From the late 1930s, she concentrated more on social needs, such as housing policy and the care of disabled children.

To survive/ avoid COVID-19 It's best if you are a white woman and live in a castle/ hamlet 👸 or if you live in London,  live in Henley ( or Windsor 🤴) 🚣️.


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[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #Aumphotos #BAME #coronavirus #COVID-19 #Inequality #royalphotogrphicsociety #rpscontemporarygroup Sun, 12 Jul 2020 13:51:27 GMT
Concerned Photography Nadav Kander Hon. FRPS's beautiful photography evoking unease  at Somerset House, London, hosted by Sony. His work, as part of the school of concerned photography touches on issues of solitude, vulnerability, industrialisation and  environmental destruction.

He is best known for his Yangtze - The Long Riverseries (2010), for which he earned the Prix Pictet Prize. Kander never photographed further than twenty miles from the river itself. In the shadow of epic construction projects we see workers, fishermen, swimmers and a man washing his motorbike in the river. Dense architecture gives way to mountains in the upper reaches towards the river's Tibetan source - a sparsely populated area where the stream is mostly broken ice and just ankle deep. The photographs are dominated by immense architectural structures where humans are shown as small in their environment. Figures are dwarfed by landscapes of half completed bridges and colossal Western-style apartment blocks that are rapidly replacing traditional Chinese low-rise buildings and houseboats.

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Nadav Kander Somerset House #aumphotos Aum Aumphotos Concerned Photography Sony Yangtze Mon, 06 May 2019 04:59:38 GMT

Kwanon camera , Named after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Originally with a Kasyapa lens, Named after Buddha's disciple.
Canon's first camera (1934) was named after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Kwannon. The lens was called Kasyapa after one of Buddha's disciples, Mahakasyapa. Avcontemporaneous advertisement for Leica is also shown.

Ananda asked Maha Kashapa, “Buddha gave you the golden woven robe of successorship. What else did he give you?”

Kashapa said, “Ananda!”

“Yes!” answered Ananda.

“Knock down the flagpole at the gate!” said Kashapa.


In saying “knock down the flagpole at the gate” Kashapa declares the interview is over. But, just before that, Kashapa calls and Ananda answers: that is the meaning of Zen. Calling and answering is the direct presentation of suchness – not just the suchness of perception, but also of function.

Photographs of Charis Wilson and a pepper by Edward Weston who understood and portrayed suchness

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Sat, 02 Jun 2018 15:40:59 GMT
Alfred Stieglitz's 12 Tips on how not to do Photography Alfred Stieglitz - photographer, gallerie and sometime friend of Paul Strand Alfred Stieglitz was a sometime friend and mentor of the great photographer Paul Strand; some of us were fortunate to see the recent wonderful exhibition of Paul Strand's life and works at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is arguable as to how good a photographer Stieglitz himself was; nevertheless he was a powerful force in photography, not least because he was a gallerist. His wife, the much younger Georgia O'Keefe was herself a great artist, producing some of her greatest work when she left him to live in New Mexico. Her work was covered recently at a major exhibition at the Tate Modern.

“Don’t believe that you become an artist the instant you received a gift Kodak on Xmas,” says Stieglitz in an article published in 1909 in a now defunct publication called Photography Topics. The article was entitled “12 random don’ts” (notice their inappropriate use of apostrophes).

Many of these exhortations are still applicable today.

Another great quote which is relevant to today's internet trolls and/ or pedants is : 

“Don’t believe that because of your lack of taste you are privileged to air your opinions on pictorial photography and art matters in general. The world in its entirety is not a camera club.

Alfred Steiglitz's Photo Tips (1909)Photography Topics Magazine Alfred Steiglitz's Photo Tips (1909)Photography Topics Magazine

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) georgia o'keefe paul strand tate modern victoria and albert museum alfred stieglitz aum aumphotos Sat, 02 Jun 2018 15:27:26 GMT
Quiet Night Thought - Li Bai ( Tang Dynasty ) Moonlight before my bed
Perhaps frost on the ground.
Lift my head and see the moon
Lower my head and pine for home.

Ghost in the machine (IV)Ghost in the machine (IV)Concept of Mind

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:45:52 GMT
Conquest of Happiness Bertrand Russell’s 1930 book examined “The conquest of happiness”. The converse of happiness, suffering, as ubiquitous is central to Buddhism.

Soto Zen

Surprisingly there has been a collapse of British Christianity: the British Social Attitudes survey showed in 1983, 37 % of the population self-declared as Anglican, in 2017 it’s 17%. This is illustrated by images of a virtual tour throughout an empty York Minster, where regal power mixes with religion. Orthodox Christianity believes in contemplation and a god above, illustrated by Canterbury Cathedral cloisters and roof and a series of gilded roof bosses at York, usually unnoticed because of their height, showing the life of Christ. Attempts by a king to rise to divinity are shown by the mountainous world heritage giant statues at Nemrut.

Nemrut - the King who claimed divinity

In 1981, the moral philosopher Alasdair McIntyre wrote in “After Virtue “, that the Enlightenment’s inability to provide a authoritative source of morality to replace the Christian–Aristotelian one it rejected, had left the west adrift. Macintyre compared our age to the Roman Empire’s decline, a comparison that the sixth century saint, Pope Benedict XVI, also made. This is illustrated by images of homeless rough sleepers beside cathedrals, unheeded by people walking past cited by some as representing the disconnect of the church with the secular state. Rural images of children learning to kill animals and the desire for accumulation illustrate further examples of lapses in moral leadership.

Protect the weak

Benedict promoted establishment of thirteen monastic communities in tune with nature; there are similarities to the teaching of Japanese zen master Dogan, seven hundred years later. Images are shown of senior Christian clergy and the Queen’s cousin taking up Benedict’s and Degen’s example, establishment of a zen sangha, recognition of lineage, and pursuit of the four Bodhisattva vows despite castigation from evangelists in the national press.



[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #aum #herhca anglican aum aumphotos buddha buddhist christian church of england herhca hindu interfaith secular Mon, 12 Feb 2018 18:16:55 GMT
Women, devotion and dance George Bernard Shaw wrote “Dance is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire“, thus emphasising the bonding and communication that is at the core of dance.

Wedding Dance

Aumphotos' new book " Women, devotion and dance " highlights the perception that in general dance is considered socially a feminine activity.

In addition dance is shown to transcend culture and geography –  examples are shown from four continents.


Movement and pleasure in the dancers and spectators are shown. In addition recent neuroscience speculates that mirroring of movement enhances pleasure (possibly via mirror neurons). Gestalt is a German word that means form, pattern or configuration. In further depth, the Gestalt Theory is the character of human experience and behaviour and focuses on wholes and whole patterns. As a result the way in which we see our reflection in the mirror, is unified by the actions of the brain, creating a recognizable image out of purely geometrical shapes, curves and lines; examples of this in dance are shown.

Gestalt image of symmetry reflection and dance

Further examples are shown of additional pleasure derived in dance from dress, energy, feelings of empowerment; children are shown learning the benefits and pleasure of dance. Finally examples of expression of spirituality and religious devotion in dance are shown from Hindu Bharatnatyam, smoke, rotational and stick dances, Buddhist death dance, and Sufi-derived dance.

Dhun NachiyeDevotional dance of smoke

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #aum #aumphotos africa asia aum aumphotos ballet bharatnatyam dance devotion europe hindu south america wedding Mon, 12 Feb 2018 17:50:56 GMT
Zen and the Art of Photography IV - The Song of Jeweled Mirror Samadhi Song of Jeweled Mirror Samadhi

By Ch'an Master Tung-shan Liang-chieh

Depiction of the the mutuality of Light and Dark as restricting each other

and at the same time being fused in each other 


Tung-shan Liang-chieh (Tõzan Ryõkai,  “Cave Mountain Good Servant” ;  807-869) is the founder of the Ts'ao-tung (Sõtõ) School of Zen Buddhism. He was a contemporary of Lin-chi I-hsüan (Rinzai Gigen, d.866 臨済義玄). Tung-shan's poem, which was composed when he saw his reflection in the stream which he was crossing at the time, may give us some glimpse into his inner experience of the Prajñâpâramitâ:


           Beware of seeking [the Truth]  by others,

            Further and further he retreats from you;

            Alone I go now all by myself,

            And I meet  him everywhere I turn.

            He is no other than myself,

            And yet I am not he.

            When thus understood,

            I am face to face with  Tathatâ."

            (Essays in Zen Buddhism – Third Series 238)


            Long seeking it through others,

           I was far from reaching it.

            Now I go by myself;

            I meet it everywhere.

           It is just I myself,

            And I am not itself.

           Understanding this way,

            I can be as I am.

            (Two Zen  Classics 267)


           Do not seek from another,

            Or you will be estranged from self.

            I now go  on alone,

            Finding I meet It everywhere.

            It now is I,

            I now am not It.

            One should  understand in this way

            To merge with suchness  as is.

            (Transmission of Light 38)


            Don't seek from others,

            Or you'll be estranged from yourself.

            I now go on alone—

            Everywhere I encounter It.

            It now is me, I now am not It.

            One must understand in this way

            To merge with being as is.

            (Transmission of Light 167)


Lotus of the heartLotus of the heart


While scholars of the Avatamsaka School were making use of the intuitions of Zen in their own way, the Zen masters were drawn towards the philosophy of Indentity and Interpenetration advocated by the Avatamsaka, and attempted to incorporate it into their own discourses.

For instance, Shih-t'ou in his 'Ode on Identity'  depicts the mutuality of Light and Dark as restricting each other and at the same time being fused in each other ; Tung-shan in his metrical composition called 'Sacred Mirror Samadhi' discourses on the mutuality of P'ien, 'one-sided', and Chêng1, 'correct', much to the same effect as Shih-t'ou in his Ode, for both Shih-t'ou and Tung-shan belong to the school of Hsing-szu known as the Ts'ao-tung11 branch of Zen Buddhism. This idea of Mutuality and Indentity is no doubt derived from Avatamsaka philosophy, so ably formulated by Fa-tsang. I have illustrated the mutuality beow in this Chiaroscuro portrait with accompanying silhouette of a singer.


Chiarascuro - Mutuality of Light and shade

The Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi consists of 94 lines of 4 characters each (376 characters total) (arranged into 47 couplets here). It is a song in which the end of each couplet rhymes with all the others. The jewel is one's true entity; the mirror, the objective spheres reflecting the parts of one's own life. The samadhi is the unity, the Buddha's wisdom that Guatama himself proclaimed at the moment of his enlightenment: "How miraculously wondrous! All beings have the Tathagata's wisdom and virtue." The intimacy is simply realizing that your true nature and the phenomenal world are meeting right here, now, as your life. (from the preface to Two Arrows Meeting Mid-Air: The Zen Koan) . I have endeavoured to depict the Jewel and the path to the jewel as a mirrored golden spiral staircase:

Finally, here is the song of the jeweled mirror samadhi  in it's entirety. both in English and Chinese. In a future article, I will discuss at length the artistic and geometric symmetries within the Chinese characters, demonstrating the supreme skills of the poet. This connection between poetry and art was taken to a high level by the chinese who would juxtapose calligraphy and the relevant image. Ultimately, Shu Shi would call writing, imageless poems.


如是之法 佛祖密附   The teaching of suchness, is given directly, through all buddha ancestors,

汝今得之 宜能保護   Now that it's yours, keep it well.

銀碗盛雪 明月藏鷺   A serving of snow in a silver bowl, or herons concealed in the glare of the moon

類而不斉 混則知處   Apart, they seem similar, together, they're different.

意不在言 來機亦赴   Meaning cannot rest in words, it adapts itself to that which arises.

動成臼 差落顧佇   Tremble and you're lost in a trap, miss and there's always regrets.

背觸共非 如大火聚   Neither reject nor cling to words, both are wrong; like a ball of fire,

但形文彩 即屬染汚   Useful but dangerous. Merely expressed in fine language, the mirror will tarnish.

夜半正明 天曉不露   At midnight truly it's most bright, by daylight it cannot still be seen.

爲物作則 用抜諸苦   It is the principle that regulates all, relieving every suffering.

雖非有爲 不是無語   Though it doesn't act it is not without words.

如臨寶鏡 形影相覩    In the most precious mirror form meets reflection:

汝是非渠 渠正是汝   You are not It, but It is all you.

如世嬰児 五相完具   Just as a baby, five senses complete,

不去不來 不起不住   Neither going or coming, nor arising or staying,

婆婆和和 有句無句   Babbles and coos: speech without meaning,

終不得物 語未正故   No understanding, unclearly expressed.

重離六爻 偏正回互   Six lines make the double li trigram, where principle and appearances interact.

疊而成三 變盡爲五   Lines stacked in three pairs yet transform in five ways.

如茎草味 如金剛杵   Like the five flavors of the hyssop plant or the five branches of the diamond scepter,

正中妙挾 敲唱雙舉   Reality harmonizes subtly just as melody and rhythm, together make music.

通宗通途 挾帯挾路   Penetrate the root and you fathom the branches, grasping connections, one then finds the road.

錯然則吉 不可犯忤   To be wrong is auspicious, there's no contradiction.

天眞而妙 不屬迷悟   Naturally pure and profoundly subtle, it touches neither delusion nor awakening,

因縁時節 寂然昭著   At each time and condition it quietly shines.

細入無間 大絶方所   So fine it penetrates no space at all, so large its bounds can never be measured.

毫忽之差 不應律呂   But if you're off by a hair's breadth all harmony's lost in discord.

今有頓漸 縁立宗趣   Now there are sudden and gradual schools with principles, approaches so standards arise.

宗趣分矣 即是規矩    Penetrating the principle,

宗通趣極 眞常流注   Mastering the approach, the genuine constant continues outflowing.

外寂内搖 繋駒伏鼠   A tethered horse, a mouse frozen in fear, outwardly still but inwardly whirling:

先聖悲之 爲法檀度   Compassionate sages freed them with teaching.

隨其顛倒 以緇爲素   In upside  down ways folks take black for white.

顛倒想滅 肯心自許   When inverted thinking falls away they realize mind without even trying.

要合古轍 請觀前古   If  you want to follow the ancient path then consider the ancients:

佛道垂成 十劫觀樹   The Buddha, completing the path, still sat for ten eons.

如虎之缺 如馬之     Like a tiger leaving a trace of the prey, like a horse missing the left hind shoe,

以有下劣 寶几珍御   For those whose ability  is under the mark, a jeweled footrest and brocaded robe.

以有驚異 狸奴白     For others who still can manifest wonder there's a house cat and cow.

藝以巧力 射中百歩   Yi the archer shot nine of ten suns from the sky, saving parched crops, another bowman hit targets at hundreds of paces:

箭鋒相値 巧力何預   These skills are small to compare with that in which two arrow points meet head on in mid air.

木人方歌 石女起舞   The wooden man breaks into song, a stone maiden leaps up to dance,

非情識到 寧容思慮   They can't be known by mere thought or feelings, so how can they be analyzed?

臣奉於君 子順於父   The minister still serves his lord, the child obeys his parent.

不順不孝 不奉非輔   Not obeying is unfilial, not serving is a useless waste.

潛行密用 如愚如魯   Practicing inwardly, functioning in secret, playing the fool, seemingly stupid,

只能相續 名主中主   If you can only persist in this way, you will see the lord within the lord.






1. The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch. Heinrich Dumoulin. SMC Publishing, Inc. Taipei, n.d..


2. The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion. Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber, et al. Shambhala Publications. New York, 1994.


3. Essays in Zen Buddhism, 3 vols. Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki. Rider and Company. London, 1949-53.


4. Two Zen Classics. Katsuki Sekida. Weatherhill. New York, 1995.


5. Zen Essence: The Science of Freedom. Ed. and trans. by Thomas Cleary. Shambhala Publications. New York, 1989.


[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:42:11 GMT
Zen, Dhyana and Art III : Mountains and plum blossom in meditation Scafell Sunburst IScafell Sunburst - Enlightenment on a mountain

Sunburst viewed from Scafell Pike © ॐ 2016


Zen  is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word (dʑjen; pinyinChán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna( ध्यान ), which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state"

It is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that was taken from India by Bodhidharma across the Himalayas and developed in China during the Tang dynasty as Chan Buddhism. Bodhidharma and other Buddhists advocated the sutras, chants immersed with deep meaning, which had been developed in India for centuries such as the Lankavatara Sutra; Zen master Hogen advocated the Avatamsaka Sutra.

Mahayana was strongly influenced by Taoism, and developed as a distinguished school of Chinese Buddhism. From China, Chan Buddhism spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan, where it became known as Japanese Zen.

Zen emphasizes rigorous meditation practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favours direct understanding through seated meditation (zazen; 座禅) and interaction (Dokusan; 独参) with an accomplished teacher (Roshi) .

The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahayana thought, especially Yogachara, the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras and the Huayan school, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal.[8][9] ThePrajñāpāramitā literature and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential in the shaping of the "paradoxical language" of the Zen-tradition.

The three traditional schools of Zen in contemporary Japan in decreasing size order are the Sōtō (曹洞), Rinzai (臨済), and Ōbaku (黃檗) schools respectively. Nanpo Shōmyō (南浦紹明 (1235–1308)  studied Linji teachings in China before founding the Japanese Otokan lineage, the most influential and only surviving lineage of Rinzai in Japan. In 1215, Dōgen, a younger contemporary of Eisai's, also journeyed to China, where he became a disciple of the Caodong master Tiantong Rujing. After his return, Dōgen established the Sōtō school, the Japanese branch of Caodong.


In the Soto school of Zen, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content, is the primary form of practice. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference. Considerable textual, philosophical, and phenomenological justification of this practice can be found throughout Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, as for example in the "Principles of Zazen" and the "Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen". In the Japanese language, this practice is called Shikantaza.


The Koan – Paradoxical stories which illuminate

Particularly in the Rinzai school, zazen is usually associated with the study of koans A kōan, literally "public case", is a paradoxical story or dialogue, describing an interaction between a Zen master and a student. These anecdotes give a demonstration of the master's insight. Koans emphasize the non-conceptional insight that the Buddhist teachings are pointing to. Koans can be used to provoke the "great doubt", and test a student's progress in Zen practice and assist in enlightenment.

Kōan-inquiry may be practiced during zazen (sitting meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), and throughout all the activities of daily life. 


Zafu and ZabutonIn Zen temples and monasteries, practitioners traditionally sit zazen as a group in a meditation hall, usually referred to as the <em><a href="" target="_blank">zendo</a></em>. The practitioner sits on a cushion called a <em><a href="" target="_blank">zafu</a></em>, which itself is usually placed on top of a low, flat mat called a <em><a href="" target="_blank">zabuton</a></em>.<br/> Before taking one's seat, and after rising at the end of the period of zazen, a Zen practitioner performs a <em>gassho</em> bow to their seat, and a second bow to fellow practitioners.<br/> The beginning of a period of zazen is traditionally announced by ringing a bell three times (<em>shijosho</em>), and the end of a round by ringing the bell either once or twice (<em>hozensho</em>).<br/> Long periods of zazen may alternate with periods of <a href="" target="_blank">kinhin</a> (walking meditation)<br/> The posture of zazen is seated, with folded legs and hands, and an erect but settled spine. The hands are folded together into a simple <a href="" target="_blank">mudra</a> over the belly. In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the <em><a href="" target="_blank">hara</a></em> (the <a href="" target="_blank">center of gravity</a> in the belly) and the eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli.<br/> The legs are folded in one of the standard sitting styles:<br/> <ul> <li><em>Kekkafuza</em> (full-<a href="" target="_blank">lotus</a>)</li> <li><em>Hankafuza</em> (half-lotus)</li> <li><em>Burmese</em> (a cross-legged posture in which the ankles are placed together in front of the sitter)</li> <li><em><a href="" target="_blank">Seiza</a></em> (a kneeling posture using a bench or <a href="" target="_blank">zafu</a>)</li> </ul> <br/> In addition, it is not uncommon for modern practitioners to practice zazen in a chair, often with a wedge or cushion on top of it so that one is sitting on an incline, or by placing a wedge behind the lower back to help maintain the natural curve of the spine. One can sit comfortably, but not too comfortably, so as to avoid falling asleep. While each of these styles is commonly taught today, Master <a href="" target="_blank">Dogen</a> recommended only <em>Kekkafuza</em> and <em>Hankafuza</em>.

Zafu and Zabuton inside Zendo © ॐ 2016


Zazen in the mountains : the significance of Plum Blossom (Baika)

Bodhidharma crossed the Himalayas to take Buddhism from India to China. He recited this poem:


 “ From the first, I came to this land to Transmit the


That I might rescue deluded beings,

And when the Single Blossom opened Its five petals,

The fruit thereof naturally came about of itself  “

The significance of the five petals is a reference to the Gautama Buddha’s five eyes:  two physical eyes, which are the non-worldly eyes of someone who is in meditation, plus the Eye of wise discernment, the Eye of the Dharma, and the Eye of a Buddha.

Similarly, the famous Antaiji temple in northern Kyoto was re-located away from the encroaching city to a remote mountain location in northern Hyugo prefecturein 1976. It was inspired by the very simple, yet deep style of zazen taught by reformer “Homeless Kodo” Sawaki Roshi (1880-1965). Antaiji was very popular with the most serious zazen practitioners from all over Japan and from abroad in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time it was led by Roshi Kosho Uchiyama (d.1996).


More recently,  the Plum mountain monastery in Washington State, in the North Western USA is where John Daido Loorie, the photographer,  was Abbot ( see my article “ Zen and Photography I “) . The plum blossom ( Baika) is beloved by Buddhists as it arrives early, in the winter and is therefore considered a harbinger of Spring. It is thus a metaphor for Shakyamuni Buddha, who was considered the first to bring forth the blossoming of the Dharma.

Master Tendō, an Old Buddha, was the thirtieth Abbot and a most venerable monk of Keitoku-ji Temple on the renowned Mount Tendō in the Keigen district of Great Sung China. Once when speaking to the assembly he said, “Here at Tendō in midwinter have come forth the first lines of a verse.” He then recited the following poem of his:

“ The thorn-like, spike-branched Old Plum Tree

Suddenly bursts forth, first with one or two blossoms,

Then with three, four, five, and finally blossoms beyond


No perfume to take pride in, no fragrance to boast of.

In scattering, they evoke a springtime scene as they are

blown over grass and trees.

The patch-robed monks, to a one, have no sooner shaved

their heads

Than, suddenly, the weather shifts with howling winds

and squalling skies,

Until the whole earth is wrapped in swirling snow.

The Old Plum Tree’s silhouette is barely to be seen,

As the freezing cold seizes their noses and rubs them raw.”


Similarly, another poem alluding to the allegory of blossoming as enlightenment and the whole universe :

“ When Gautama finally lost His deceiving eyes,

There appeared in the snow a single blossom on one

bough of the Old Plum Tree.

What has now arrived is the growing of thorn-like spurs,

So that all the more I laugh at the spring winds which

send all things flying in disarray. “


Similarly another poem on enlightenment linked to Plum Blossoming that is recited:


“ On this first day of the year I wish you happiness.

All the myriad things arising are fresh and new.

Upon reflection, my great assembly, I submit to you,

The Plum Tree has blossomed early this spring”


Again the allegory of new sprouting as the novitiates and the blossom as enlightenment is within this poem:


“ If a single word accords with the Truth,

It will not change, though myriad generations pass:

Thus, eye-shaped willow buds sprout forth from new


Whereas plum blossoms fill up the older boughs.”


Another poem:

“ Everything is so bright and clear,

No need to seek some phantom in the Flowering Plum,

Spontaneously creating rain and raising clouds in past

and present.

Past and present are rare enough, and what ending will

they have? “


The Meditation Master Hōen once said in verse:


“ The snow-laden north wind sets the valley trees to


Everything is buried deep within, with little complaint,

While on the mountain peak, the bright-spirited plum

stands alone.

Even before the twelfth month’s heavy snows spew forth, I

have the feeling of the yearly ‘greater cold’. “


The senior monk Taigen Fu also expressed his awakening in verse. He had originally been an academic lecturer, focussing on learning only of the ego mind. One day he had been shaken by the chief cook at Mount Kassan. Fu became enlightened and recited :


“ I remember from the days before I had awakened

Whenever I heard the wail of the painted horn, it was like

a cry of grief.

Now, when upon my pillow, I have no idle dreams

And just trust to whatever the Plum Blossom may blow

my way, large or small. “



Koans of mountains

While teaching the Buddha would often refer to the white cow of Snow mountain. On the mountain there were many varieties of grass that would lead to nourishing milk which makes those who drink it thrive better. Similarly the Buddhadharma nourishes the wisdom of those that accept it. Many koans are centred around a mountain journey.

Sunburst from Skiddaw on to Buttermere © ॐ 2016



On the terrace of a small temple high in the mountains, an old Zen Buddhist monk stood next to his much younger disciple while they both contemplated the great Void of misty space out yonder. Referring to the Void, the old monk at one point gently declared: "Ah, my son, one day all of this will be yours."





Yunmen sang:

" The cloud and the moon, both the same.

Valleys and mountains, each different.

Are they one, or are they two?

Wonderful! Splendid! "


Finally, let us contemplate this poem by the Chan hermit Shiwu (1272-1352), also known as Chinghong :


" My hut isn’t quite six feet across

surrounded by pines bamboos and mountains

an old monk hardly has room for himself

much less for a visiting cloud 


Standing outside my pointed-roof hut

who’d guess how spacious it is inside

a galaxy of worlds is there

with room to spare for a zazen cushion


My mind outshines the autumn moon

not that the autumn moon isn’t bright

but once full it fades

no match for my mind

always full and bright

as to what the mind is like

why don’t you tell me? "



© ॐ 2016



  1. Lankavatara Sutra, chapter LXXXII, p.192 Suzuki-translation, p.223/224 in brackets


  1. Heine (ed.), Steven; Wright (ed.), Dale S. (2007). Zen Ritual : Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice. Oxford University Press. p. 223. ISBN 9780198041467.
  2. Maezumi, Hakuyu Taizan; Glassman, Bernie (2002). On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, Mind. Wisdom Publications. pp. 48–49. ISBN 086171315X.
  3. Suzuki, Shunryū (2011). Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Shambhala Publications. p. 8. ISBN 978-159030849-3.
  4. Steven Heine, Shifting Shape, Shaping Text: Philosophy and Folklore in the Fox Kōan (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999), 41.
  5.  Steven Heine, Dōgen and the Kōan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shōbōgenzō Texts (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 125.
[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Zen Aum Aumphotos Dharma Five petals Mountains Sutra Mon, 27 Jun 2016 15:34:36 GMT
Arizona Avante Garde, Merz,and Surrealism

" Old Market off the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul "  © ॐ 2016 

Fifteen members attended the RPS NE contemporary group on the 21st May in York, convened by Patricia Ruddle ARPS, who had received a further five apologies for absence; members had travelled from as far afield as Derby and Middlesborough. The meeting followed on from a well-attended and received RPS morning café session organised by Yorkshire Regional organiser Mary Crowther ARPS and Treasurer Bob Helliwell ARPS. Patricia reiterated her call for a successor to her as group convenor; this was to be the last meeting in York for the foreseeable future; Nigel Tooby FRPS has kindly agreed to host the next meeting on Saturday September 17th – further details will be circulated to the group.

David Edge from Derby, Yorkshire Region webmaster, discussed the RPS Contemporary Group webmaster, Sean Goodheart’s call for images for the RPS website ( email: and the preference for images that may be cropped to a letterbox 3:1 crop for display ; instructions are at David also mentioned that plans were underway for a RPS Midlands contemporary subgroup.

Peter Bartlett LRPS presented three photobooks. “Empty Premises “ (2013) , published via the BLURB platform ( shows empty shops and retail premises and captured a consequence of the recent economic recession. The front cover shows a photograph of a dilapidated building called Patricia’s hairdressers. Peter saw the building when visiting his mother, who lived nearby. The shop had been kept in the same condition by Patricia’s widower as a poignant memorial to her.

The second book, “Sixteen Facades Near Plunkett Road ” again shows retail premises, this time in Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia with a high level of migrant settlement and consequent cultural diversity. Notably all the images were taken in a period of only 50 minutes. The third photobook was “ Main Street “ (2016; ISBN 978-1-36- 431763-8). Again showing buildings , this time in Gembrook, another suburb of Melbourne, where Bartlett’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law reside; the book is dedicated to “Hazel and Brian “.

These books books are reminiscent of and/or inspired by the work of Edward Ruscha IV ( 1937 - ), the American artist associated with Pop Art, who published “ Twentysix Gasoline stations “ (1963, National Excelsior Press); all the images are of stations on route 66 between Ruscha’s home in Culver City, California and his parents in Oklahoma.

Both Peter Bartlett’s and Edward Ruscha’s works are deadpan depictions of subjects that are not generally thought of as having aesthetic qualities ( unlike my photograph below of the Shambles in York, voted Britain's favourite street), mainly devoid of human presence, emphasizing the essential form of the structure and its placement within the built environment. I have endeavoured to do the same with the Istanbul image above. Many, including Ruscha, have attributed a spiritual subtext to his book by analogy to the fourteen stations of the Cross between Pilate’s condemnation of Christ to his crucifixion at Calvary. It is notable that Bartlett’s planned next works include a photobook of 26 facial expressions (as well as projects on covered vehicles and Port Arthur in Tasmania).

  The Shambles, York

" The Shambles, York "  © ॐ 2016

Peter Bartlett candidly expressed dissatisfaction of the sequence of photographs in Main Street. A discussion on sequencing of images then ensued examining the techniques of Paul Hill MBE and Brian Steptoe FRPS, who both teach on the subject. Variables including form, seasons, time, place and subject matter were covered. A future meeting on creation of a photobook was floated, building on Steptoe’s RPS video on the subject ( ).

Celine Alexander-Brown of the Annexe Photography Group, Middlesborough, showed photographs of everyday Delhi street life.

Celine’s charming and humorous images are in sharp contrast to those in the recent “ InVisible “ project of photographs of Indian Women by artist Ann-Christine Woehrl, funded by the German cultural foundation Stiftung Kulturwerk / VG Bild‐Kunst. These latter images show reconstructive surgery for (mainly female) burns victims, including acid attacks, who must confront more than just a changed face in the mirror and are often ostracised from their communities and families, and unable to continue working at their old jobs.

Lyn Newton, also of the Annexe Photography Group showed images of the street processions during Holy Week in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Costaleros, men in Brotherhood groups, carry pasos, heavy silvered and gilded wooden structures depicting the virgin Mary and scenes of the passion of Christ respectively.

Patricia commented that Lyn’s Catholic religious photography may be compared with that of Salvo Alibrio ARPS who captured Sicilian festivals in “ La Sicilia sacra “, published in the RPS journal Contemporary Photography (2013, vol 53) which she edited and in the National Geographic magazine. Similarly, I have captured the Hindu celebration of " Ganesh Visarjan " whereby the statue of Ganesh is held aloft :

Ganesh Visarjan © ॐ 2016

Close inspection of Lyn’s second image of the hooded costaleros, shows him to be slightly blurred; a discussion on the subjective nature of composition and the pre-requisite necessity of sharp focus throughout an image required by RPS distinction panels ensued, with marked variances of opinion. Unsurprisingly, Cartier Bresson’s maxim “ Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” was quoted; It is said that the 96 year old Cartier Bresson had said this to Helmut Newton when he had taken a fuzzy portrait of Newton for Vanity Fair magazine in 2004.

Similarly, Nigel Tooby made reference to “ On Being a Photographer: a Practical Guide” by another Magnum Photographer, David Hurn and Bill Jay; this book gives advice on subject selection and creating a photo essay.

Mick Nolan explained his personal journey of artistic photography. It started with Landscape photography of the North York Moors emphasising ploughed ridge lines (a) which led to the production of composite photographs with photographs of ruffled cloth (b). Then by using coloured gels, photographs of chiffon led to images of a series of sinuous horizontal lines (c). Mick was somewhat concerned that he was going out on a limb; however these lines are reminiscent of the “ Lines of Time “ project of Ann Christopher RA who depicts her experience of the landscape around Albi in Southern France and of the ‘ ever changing effects of the climate and light on the landscape ‘ using coloured straight lines. Mick then made a montage of this with a photograph of a tree to produce a proto landscape image (d).

Mick’s use of montages of photographs and art is reminiscent of the Arizona Avant-Garde work of Frederick Sommer (1905-1999) who made a unique contribution to 20th-century photography and whose work is exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Mentored by Alfred Sieglitz, Edward Weston and Max Ernst, Sommer situated his photography within a wider artistic practice that included poetry, drawing and painting, and engaging with the ideas and practice of surrealism, he pushed the boundaries of photography's subject matter. He moved from finding things to photograph to creating things for the camera using techniques such as frottage (rubbing), producing images sometimes devoid of perspective and almost Cubist in appearance, a method that has great resonance with contemporary photography.

After a break , three speakers then discussed various aspects of creating and curating a photographic exhibition.

David Edge presented two sets of images. The first work, ‘Spaces’ , examines the visual interaction of people and architectural spaces.The second project was “Abandoned Bulgarian Psychiatric Hospitals” (photographed in Great Malvern) has moved on to an individual psychological examination called “Waking up in an institution”. The title may refer to a marriage or an organisation, not just a hospital. David expressed nervousness at including the image below, and its emotional sequelae in a public exhibition. 

David also shared five hard lessons he had learnt for a proposed solo exhibition featuring his ‘spaces’ and ‘waking up’ work plus some environmental portraits, which was subsequently abandoned.

Firstly, not all galleries show work behind glass, so photography may catch them out. Poor lighting from windows may destroy the finest work. David had decided to opt for borderless mounting on Foamex with relatively flat Hahnemule papers (matt or lustre) without glass. If glass is used , polarised anti-reflection glass is reasonably effective, but expensive.

Secondly, find out as early as possible the gallery’s policy on fixings. They may like mirror plates and not self-adhesive fixatives that they later have to remove. Split battens are an interesting option - see below.

Thirdly, paper selection was an interesting and rewarding part of the process; David had experimented with the full Hahnemule range including heavily textured fine art papers, printing a representative quarter of an A2 image on to A4. As part of this trial, David learned that there’s no white ink cartridge in a printer, so unlike an electronic display the ‘white’ reproduced on a print is governed by the paper used which may be warm, cool or in one case a rather malevolent cyan. He also recommended seeking advice from certified printmakers for advice choosing a paper.

Fourthly, despite having various prints to exhibit, it is important to reprint them to get a consistency of mood and tone on the wall. Further, with David’s vision of frameless, borderless prints ‘floating’ on a white wall any vignetting on prints may have to be eliminated or even reversed.

Finally, David explored potential layouts, understanding that layout altered the sequence viewed, perception and resultant thought patterns of the audience. The first was a traditional linear ‘railway carriage’ (top panel), the second and third a ‘cloud’ pattern with (middle panel) and without (lower panel) visible battens.

Avijit Datta discussed a recent exhibition in York of my images on spirituality on the twin themes of “colour and joy”. Images of white and Asian people joyously enjoying a festival of colour (Holi) together gave a positive image of multiculturalism to counter some recent negative parochial and possibly xenophobic media media messages. The A2 prints were displayed on a white wall at eye level in two rows of a ‘railway carriage‘ arrangement in wooden frames behind glass with no visible battens. These frames would be re-used for future exhibitions, reducing the standing cost of curating exhibitions. I discussed a planned future exhibition as part of the celebrations in Hull for the City of Culture celebrations official “Roots and Routes“ theme, depicting the development of migrants to Hull and the patchwork of peoples with their own unique spirit, character and distinctly international flavour, showing new partnerships and collaborations as communities unite in a grass roots celebration of arts and culture as a model for multiculturalism in any city of the world.

Holi Besties

" Holi Besties "  © ॐ 2016

Neil Wittman

In preparing for four pictures to be exhibited at the RPS photobook opening at the Espacio Gallery, Neil Wittman also considered printing, framing and transportation issues. He had seen large aluminium prints and found a specialist printer online (White Wall) and uploaded three .jpg files for printing, two 3” square and a small landscape format picture. Neil chose three different finishes; brushed aluminium direct onto the medium, a matte finish -bonded print with protective coating and a glossy finish on ‘metal’. He ultimately decided to have his four works produced on aluminium di-bond matte finish to about 40cm square, roughly the size of Neil’s usual framed prints. The aluminium prints come with their own wall mounts that give a ‘float’ off the wall look for exhibition. This simplicity makes for a lightweight durable picture with a contemporary look.

   " Paracelsus " by Frederick Sommer - courtesu of V& A museum, London 

" La Ville; Electricité " Photogravure by Man Ray, courtesy of V & A Museum, London

Merz 8--Die Kathedrale Kurt SchwittersMerz 8--Die Kathedrale Kurt Schwitters

Merz 8--Die Kathedrale " by Kurt Schwitters,

courtesy of  V& A Museum, London

The collage images Neil presented also had spiritual themes; they showed the same hooded figure in a dystopian often derelict environment in each composite image. . The first is Transcendental meditation, the second seeking direction, and the third, The Traveller. Again, this work is reminiscent of Frederick Sommer’s work, discussed above or the later collages of the surrealist and dada artists Man Ray (1890-1976) and Kurt Schwitters (1887 – 1948) - see for example his " Das Unbild" at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Schwitters coined the concept ‘ Merz ‘ as ‘the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials’

The meeting ended with a discussion on producing a joint RPS North East contemporary photobook. Various themes were proposed and six potential contributors volunteered. This project is to be pursued at subsequent meetings.

 © ॐ 2016

A version of this article will appear in the Royal Photographic Society's magazine " Concept "


[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Royal Photographic Society Aum Aumphotos Contemporary photography Merz Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:00:06 GMT
Zen and the Art of Photography II Take a running jump I

" Take a running jump I " © ॐ 2016

The German philosopher Eugen Herrigel (1884-1955) taught philosophy in Tohoku Imperial University, Sendai , Japan between 1924-1929; at the same time he studied Kyudo – zen archery under Master Awa Kenzo (1880 - 1939). He returned to Germany to take up the chair of philosophy at Erlangen. Seven years later he published later he published  "Die Ritterliche Kunst des Bogenschiessens" (The Knightly Art of Archery). This formed the basis of his seminal book Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One. This short book was influential in introducing Zen to Western audiences in the late 1940s and beyond. 

On a simplistic level, it is a guide to the mental and physical exercises to perfect the motor learning required for archery; on a deeper level it is an honest account of one man’s journey to complete abandonment of ‘the self’ and the ego principles that we use to define ourselves. For example, Herrigel describes how he was baffled by paradoxes of being taught that art must become artless, at being taught to aim at himself. Herrigel made copious notes on Zen. After his death, they were edited by his widow, Gusty, and Herman Tausen and published as Der Zen- Weg. They were translated into english, revised by the English philosopher, Buddhist and Episcopal priest, Alan Watts ( 1915- 1973) and published as " The way of Zen" . Watts went to school next to Canterbury Cathedral but trained in Zen in New York ( his mother in law , Ruth Everett Fuller, was married to Zen Master Roshi Sokei-an Sasaki, who acted as his mentor); later he moved to San Fransisco and studied Hindu Vedanta as well as chinese calligraphy. In the revision of " The Way of Zen" , Watts drew on the Indian and Chinese underpinnings of Zen, general semantics ( from the works of Alfred Korzybski (1879-1950; and cybernetics from the early work of Norbert Wiener (1894 - 1964).

The connection between Herrigel's book on Archery and Art and Photography starts with the Fauvist and Cubist painter George Braque (1882 – 1963). Braque’s earliest work was impressionistic but soon became heavily influenced by Henri Matisse, Alain Derain, Raoul Dufy and the other beasts (Fauves); as such he employed colour to depict emotion. Influenced by Paul Cezanne’s work on multiple perspective, Braque’s own work incorporated an interest in the effects of light, geometry and simultaneous persective – the basis of Analytical Cubism. At the age of 26, Braque started a collaboration with Picasso in co-founding Cubism; Picasso had also been influenced by Cezanne. Braque’s still life paintings patterns express an essence of the objects viewed rather than direct representations. A decisive development in Cubism occurred in the Pyrenees in 1911 where Braque painted side by side with Pablo Picasso – they each produced paintings which appear indistinguishable from the other’s.

Braque gave the French humanist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908- 2004) Herrigel’s book on Zen and archery. Cartier Bresson had studied art and literature at the University of Cambridge (1928-1929). He went to India in 1947, on behalf of Magnum Photos, the agency he cofounded with the war photographer, Robert Capa. the year before the publication of Herrigel’s book on Zen Buddhism and Archery. Cartier Bresson photographed Mahatma Gandhi fasting for peace, leaving Meherauli, a Moslem shrine and on Jan 30th 1948; one hour later Gandhi had been assassinated. Cartier Bresson went on to capture the weeping crowds around Gandhi, Prime Minister Pandit Nehru announcing Gandhi’s death and Gandhi’s cremation on the banks of the Sumna river in Dehli.

Gandhi once said that Shakyamuni Buddha was the greatest teacher of the Hindu concept of ahimsa (non-violence) and that he "taught us to defy appearances and trust in the final triumph of Truth and Love." Not killing is also the first of the five Zen Buddhist precepts. Cartier Bresson took almost half a million photographs; they distilled the chaos of existence into a studied geometry so rich and vigorous that it seemed to foreground simple truths. Clearly  Hindu /  Buddhist ideas influenced Cartier Bresson; he recommended and referenced Herrigel’s book frequently in relationship to how he saw photography. However, Cartier Bresson would have received Herrigel's book from Braque after his interaction with Gandhi - it is tempting to postulate that reflection on Gandhian teaching had already influenced Cartier Bresson. The “inner child” or in Zen the “beginner’s mind” are all exercises designed to return a person to a more supple state of flow. In his book, " The Mind's Eye ", Cartier Bresson wrote about  being able to " sniff the final image" and " To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy ".

Similarly, just as discipline serves an unexpected purpose for Kyudo, freeing archers from the endless choices that are common place in modern life, the same applies to the master photographer/ artist. Thus, every action is predetermined, except one, the moment they release the arrow. The analogy with photography is obvious, the arrow release is replaced by the camera shutter; Cartier Bresson coined the phrase " The decisive moment ". Zen Archers are all trained to do exactly the same sequences, the same steps, and the same techniques.  What divides each moment is the shot.  It is the record of these small shifts, that translates to a different outcome, for the archer a different score, for the photographer a different image and message.

The image I have shown accompanying this article is entitled “ Take a running jump I “. It shows two boys simultaneously jumping into a lake with great determination. That they have performed this action before and learnt the motor action is shown by how close they are above the water and the synchronous position of their limbs. The water is so still that the reflection of the boys’ legs is clearly seen. A single point in time is frozen; the boys appear to float above the water moments before they are immersed.

At the culmination of this discourse on history, philosophy, politics, neuroscience and art, grounded in ego thought, I respectfully return you, the reader, to the Heart Sutra:

The Great Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, practising deep Prajna Paramita, 
clearly saw that all five skandhas are empty, 
transforming all suffering and distress. 
Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, 
emptiness no other than form; 
form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form; 
sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness are also like this. 
Shariputra, all things are essentially empty - 
not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; without loss, without gain. 
Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness; 
no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, 
no colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, object of thought; 
no seeing and so on to no thinking; 
no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, 
and so on to no old age and death 
and also no ending of old age and death; 
no suffering, cause of suffering, cessation, path; 
no wisdom and no attainment. Since there is nothing to attain, 
the Bodhisattva lives by Prajna Paramita
with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance and therefore no fear; 
far beyond delusive thinking right here is Nirvana. 
All Buddhas of past, present, and future live by Prajna Paramita, 
attaining Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi
Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is 
the great mantra, the vivid mantra, 
the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra, 
which completely removes all suffering. 
This is truth, not mere formality. 
Therefore set forth the Prajna Paramita mantra, 
set forth this mantra and proclaim: 
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate 
Bodhi Svaha


1. Eugen Herrigel (1948) Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana,1948)

2. Eugen Herrigel  (1936 ) The Knightly Art of Archery (Die Ritterliche Kunst des Bogenschiessens) Zeitschrift fur Japanologie (pp.193-212)

3. Alan Watts (1960 ) The way of Zen"  Vintage, Pantheon Books  ISBN 0-375-70510-4.

4. Alfred Korzybski (1879-1950; Manhood Of Humanity  The Science and Art of Human Engineering (1921, EP Dutton);  

5. Alfred Korzybski Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics ( 5th edition 1994, Institute of General Semantics)

6.. Norbert Wiener  Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948, MIT Press)

7. Henri Cartier Bresson (1999) The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers. Aperture ISBN: 9780893818753


© ॐ 2016





[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Gandhi Herrigel Hinduism Kyudo Motor Learning Semantics The decisive moment Zen , : Ahimsa Archery Aum Aumphotos" Braques Buddhism Cartier Bresson Cubism Cybernetics Fauvism Sun, 15 May 2016 00:28:28 GMT
Siempre en mi cabeza - always in my head: Truth in documentary photography siempre en mi cabezasiempre en mi cabezaSiempre en mi cabeza - always in my head; they are humans too

The image of a young refugee from the Syrian holocaust sitting in a street with her child on her lap made me think of the words below published by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Please click on the blue  links:

Photography has often been perceived as an objective, and therefore unbiased ,medium for capturing and preserving historical moments. Yet the choices made by a  photographer—including how the image is composed composed, what is left in or out of the shot, and how it may be manipulated after it is taken—necessarily impacts how we perceive the image. It also raises critical questions about how willingly we accept any one photograph photograph as the definitive truth.

Photographs can bear witness to a definitive moment in history or even serve as a catalyst for change. They can foster sympathy and awareness or, alternatively, offer critical commentary on an historical figure or event. The photographers discussed here aim to wordlessly capture the essence of events they witnessed—though the question of accuracy is always up for debate.

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Sun, 06 Mar 2016 12:54:07 GMT
Zen and the Art of Photography I Zen Buddhism in The Old Palace, York MinsterZen Buddhism in The Old Palace, York Minster

The Four Great Vows of Boddhisattva

Sentient beings are numberless,
I vow to save them.
Desires are inexhaustible,
I vow to put an end to them.
The Dharmas are boundless,
I vow to master them.
The Buddha Way is unsurpassable,
I vow to attain it.

Thirteen members of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) North East Contemporary Group, including the RPS Yorkshire regional organiser Mary Crowther ARPS, met at the Royal Oak pub in York on 16th January 2015. Participants had travelled from as far afield as Derbyshire and Middlesborough.

Nigel Tooby FRPS started the meeting by discussing the history and semantics of contemporary photography. The group had started in 1992 ; the approach was to capture “about” rather than “of” and in general bodies of work, often accompanied by text were employed rather than single images.

Nigel showed his photobook of family and close associates. Images included a child on a potty at a society wedding. Old photographs were printed on architectural tracing paper. A group photograph at the wedding had the groom’s image cut out reflecting subsequent divorce. His comments brought to mind Alfred Stieglitz who said that the photograph was the equivalent of what he saw and what he felt.

Patricia  Ruddle ARPS ( far right of photograph), who organised the meeting, spoke about the “Box round“ whereby members contributed photographs to the box, which was sent between members who were invited to write comments and add a new photograph. She also announced that Christine Pinnington, editor of the RPS Contemporary Group magazine was looking for volunteers for a joint photobook.

Regina Wilkinson showed her photobook of her aunt Masha’s country home in Belarus. Regina explained that she had been born in the (communist) USSR and had moved to England in 1999. The images portrayed happiness, loneliness and dependence via a bucolic idyll in a semi abandoned village ( Mir) contrasting with an oppressive lonely city life in Minsk under an apparently overbearing Soviet state regime. The theme is reminiscent of three photographers, two Lithuanian and one Ukrainian  respectively. Firstly, Indrė Šerpytytė-Robert’s dark work on Lithuania under the Soviet regime recently exhibited at the Tate Modern and Museum of Modern Art, New York. Secondly Rimaldas Viksraitis, whose work has  recurring  stark monochrome motifs of chickens, vodka, breasts, dirt, animal carcasses and inebriated, often semi-naked, pensioners. His work was described by Martin Parr as “slightly insane and wonderfully surreal”; Parr nominated Viksraitis for the Discovery award at the Arles Photography festival, which Viksraitis went on to win. Finally, Boris Mikhailov’s work spanning 40 years, with motifs of modesty and morality, often with hand coloured black and white photographs. Mikhailov’s work was previously exhibited at New York's  Museum of Modern Art and now at the Saatchi Gallery, London shows a bleak post-Soviet netherworld of alcoholism and madness but are altogether harsher and more detached. Interestingly in his collection Case History , Mikhailov unashamedly defends paying his subjects and working with them to stage poses inspired by religious and historical paintings. He says : " Documentary cannot be truth. Documentary pictures are one-sided, only one part of the conversation " .  In this collection of 400 photographs, published as a book in 1999, Mikhailov has explored the position of the individual within the mechanisms of public ideology, touching on such subjects as Ukraine under Soviet rule, the living conditions in post-communist Eastern Europe, and the fallen ideals of the Soviet Union. Although deeply rooted in a historical context, his work incorporates profoundly engaging and personal narratives of humor, lust, vulnerability, aging, and death. Importantly, when interviewed about what triggered him into starting Case History,  Mikhailov said :   " What is truth or not truth? My feelings about this series have changed over time, so this is how I understand it now. I am from the Ukraine, but had been living in Berlin for a year on a stipend. After being away, I came back to my home town of Kharkov and it was very different from when I left. What was different? There were lots of color advertisements and other signs of the new capitalism, but when you looked more closely you could see a new society of people—the homeless ". Mikhailov then went on to say " With Case History, I wanted to find a metaphoric image of life. "

Graham Evans showed photographs on computer screens of memorials to those killed in the Great war. This included Remembrance day wreaths laid at the memorial in York, tombstones with Chinese characters commemorating indentured labourers in France. He contrasted the unclipped grass of the German cemeteries with the manicured lawns of the American cemetery outside Cambridge. His image of the memorial to a young boy shot at dawn reminded participants that there was an exhibition called “ Shot at Dawn “by Chloe Matthews

Martin Drury then displayed his examination of shadows which he showed on a loose leaf photobook looking like an artist’s sketchbook

Martin separated his work into four themes:

  1. The dark part of a picture
  2. Silhouette
  3. Intercepted light
  4. A dark projection onto a surface



A dark projection onto a surface                    The dark part of a picture



Intercepted light (upper panel)    Silhouette ( lower panel)


On seeing the first category ( The dark part of the picture ), Nigel Tooby alluded to the cover of Led Zepplin’s 1976 album ‘ Presence ‘. The image, created by Hipgnosis shows various images of a family interacting with a black obelisk shaped object. The explanation for these images by the designer was  'When I think of the group, I always think of power and force. There's a definite presence there.'

Martin’s image of the silhouette echoed Ansel Adams’ notable  photograph of a tree silhouetted at sunrise. Adams used the term extract rather than abstract for the technique. Such work brought to mind the Tibetan word Miksang – meaning hidden eye. The concept is to uncover the hidden meaning i.e to perceive directly without the burden of habitual likes and dislikes which cloud clear perception and thereby uncover what is already there. An American exponent of this photographic form was the late John Daido Loori, author of ‘Making love with light ‘ (2000) and "' The Zen of Creativity  : cultivating your artistic life (2007) ' who  became a Zen master. Traditional Japanese artists e.g. Josetsu and Hasegawa Tohaku inspired Monet, who collected that genre of work. Minimalist Photography as espoused by Michael Kenna and John Daido Loorie looks to remove superfluity and distraction.…

As Junichiro Tanizaki said “Find beauty not only in the thing itself but also in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark, which that thing provides”……………..

When Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara practised the deep Prajnaparamita, he saw that the five skandhas were empty; thus he overcame all ills and suffering.

"O Sariputra! Form does not differ from the void, and the void does not differ from the form. Form is the void, and the void is form. The same is true for feelings, conceptions, impulses and consciousness.

O Sariputra, the characteristics of the void is not created, not annihilated, not impure, not pure, not increasing, not decreasing.

Thus, in the void there are no forms and no feelings, conceptions, impulses and no consciousness: there is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind; there is no form, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea; no eye elements, until we come to no elements of consciousness; no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, until we come to no old age and death; and no ending of old age and death.

Furthermore, there is no truth of suffering, of the cause of suffering, of the cessation of suffering or of the path. There is no wisdom, and there is no attainment whatsoever. Because there is nothing to be attained, a Bodhisattva relying on Prajnaparamita has no obstruction in his heart. Because there is no obstruction he has no fear, and he passes far beyond all confused imagination and reaches Ultimate Nirvana. Artists may wish to reflect on this.

All Buddhas in the past, present and future have attained Supreme Enlightenment by relying on the Prajnaparamita, the supreme magic Mantra, the great Mantra of illumination, which can truly wipe out all suffering without fail."

"Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasemgate Bodhi-svaha!"

The RPS meeting concluded with Patricia showing back issues of the RPS Contemporary Group journal “ Contemporary Photography “, which she edits.

An amended version of this article will appear in the 2016 RPS e-newsletter " Concept" © ॐ 2016

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aum Aumphotos Contemplative Photography Contemporary Photography Royal Photographic Society Zen Zen Buddhism Sat, 06 Feb 2016 05:16:20 GMT
The ideal man and woman - lessons from the Ramayana at Diwali Understanding Valmiki’s Ramayana and the Global Festival of Diwali

" Diwali lights " © ॐ 2015


Understanding Maharishi Valmiki, arguably one of the greatest poets of any continent or time and his epiphany leads to insight of his magnum opus, the Ramayana (5th century BC), it’s older Vedic origins, which is celebrated by Hindus and later by Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and Muslims worldwide.  Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) pronounced that Hinduism and it’s message of the Ramayana is universal to all peoples; the message relates to conflict and is topical this week, which precedes Remembrance day. 

Valmiki’s early life was that of an ignorant brute; however whilst stealing from the sage Narada, he realised that he alone was responsible for his own sin. Valmiki’s question “Who was the ideal man? ” was answered by Narada in the form of the Samkshepa Ramayana, an exhortation to call to god  (in the form of Lord Rama ). So prolonged was Valmiki’s subsequent meditation and penance that an anthill grew around and over him, hence his reborn Sanskrit name ‘Valmiki’, meaning “one who sits in an anthill”.

Valmiki went to the Ganges and envisioned a pure and pious mind within those clear waters. Two birds were coupled in rapture beside it; the male bird was killed by a hunter’s arrow and the female died of sorrow. On seeing this, Valmiki uttered the first ever shloka (verse) in Sanskrit literature :

मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः। यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥'

mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṁ tvamagamaḥ śāśvatīḥ samāḥ

yat krauñcamithunādekam avadhīḥ kāmamohitam


You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity

For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting



Valmiki then composed the epic Ramayana of 50 000 lines, using the same 32 syllable Anustubh meter as that above. The Rama ayana (रामायणम्) means the journey or advancement of Lord Rama (and his beloved consort Sita) through the length of India from Nepal to Sri Lanka, and the individual journey of man to god ; it is detailed in seven kandas (books) :

Bala ( Book of Youth – Rama breaking Shiva’s bow in Nepal to marry Sita) ,

Ayodhya (Book of Ayodhya – banishment of Rama from his kingdom) ,

Aranya (Book of Forest; the demon disguised as a golden deer, abduction of Sita ) ,

Kishkindha (The Empire of Holy Monkeys – meeting of Rama with the loyal Hanuman, defeat of evil Vali) 

Sundara ( Book of Beauty – Hanuman’s location of Sita, his destruction of Lanka, the hedonistic island kingdom of demon Ravana) ,

Yuddha ( Book of War – Rama’s battle with demon Ravana; good overcoming evil, and the triumphant return to ayodhya and coronation of Sri Rama, welcomed by light, the symbol of love and enlightenment)

Uttara (last Book – Bowing to demands from his subjects, Rama subjects Sita to the Agni Pariksha (test of fire). Despite overcoming this, rumours of impurity in the company of Ravana lead to Sita's banishment, during which she gives birth to and raises the twin sons Lob and Kush. Rama and Sita reconcile, the twins later ascend the throne of Ayodhya, Sita returns to the earth and Rama departs from the world, the purpose of his earthly incarnation being complete)

As Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) wrote, Valmiki answered his own question: Lord Rama, the embodiment of truth, of morality, is the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal leader; Sita represents model womanhood of fidelity, loyalty, sacrifice and the nurturing mother.

The non dualist philosophy of Advaita proposed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya (788 – 820) and developed by Buddhism, proposes innate divinity within us all, with which we must strive to identify and connect. This taken together with the Swami Vivekananda’s premise above inexorably leads to the deduction that should we choose, we will find the perfect man and woman within; let us reflect on this reader, lest we be found wanting.

Valmiki’s Ramayana presents the ancient Hindu Vedas in narrative allegory, interspersing internal philosophical dipoles (good, evil, virtue, materialism, love, lust, loyalty, deceit, sacrifice, hedonism) and devotional elements. Swami Vivekananda was an expert Sanskrit scholar and interpreted the Vedas and Ramayana and their allegorical elements to understand the subtext of the Ramayana and explain the passages which continue to vex current readers who merely adopt a literal meaning of the Ramayana e.g. Why in the Uttara Kanda did Lord Rama subject his beloved Sita to the test of fire?

Allegorical elements of the Ramayana

Sri Rama represents the Paramatman (परमात्मन्, Supreme soul). Sita, coming from the earth, represents the Jeevatman (जीव – the individual essence of an organism which survives physical death). Every human being's body is Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana. The Jivatman always endeavours affinity with Paramatman (as Sita wants to meet Rama), but the demons (Rakshasas) in Lanka would not allow it. The Rakshasas in the Ramayana represents certain characteristics. For example Ravana has ten demonic heads – the das mukha - representing  passion (Rajas gunam), pride, anger, greed, infatuation, lust, hatred, jealousy, selfishness and crookedness (the Kumbhakarna which represent the Tamas guna). Ravana is also an enigma, he was the grandson of a sage who was a prajapati (mind-born son) of Lord Brahma, an expert vedic scholar and erstwhile devotee of both Brahma and Shiva; however his devotion and penance was for personal gain. These qualities in so called Lanka (the hedonistic human body) prevents Jeevatman from reaching Paramatman i.e Sita from reaching rama. Sita was united to her Lord with the help of Hanuman. Hanuman represents the loyal Guru, who shows her Rama's ring which is Brahma-Jnana or supreme wisdom, which destroys the cosmic illusion of our surroundings (maya).


How is the war of the Yuddha Kanda reconciled with Ahimsa ?

The just and proportionate war – lessons from the Baghavad Gita


" Swordfight " © ॐ 2015

The Yuddha Kanda, the penultimate book of the Ramayana describes the war between Rama and the demon Ravan. How may this be reconciled with the dharmic cardinal value of ahimsa first described in the Vedas, espoused by Hindus, and later developed and followed by both Buddhists and Jains ?  

Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is thus injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm – non violence, non-harm in deeds, words and thoughts. It is inspired by Advaita non dualist philosophy that all living beings have the divine spark; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself and hurt the divine. Latterly, Ahimsa has also been related to the notion that violence has karmic consequences.

For example the Yajur Veda ( circa 1000 BC )  states:

" May all beings look at me with a friendly eye, may I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eyes of a friend "

Why then should the Ramayana extol war? Firstly, again using the allegorical lens, the war represents our internal daily battle between good and evil. Secondly, Valmiki was well aware of the Bhagavad Gita and it’s third millennium BC origins and would well understand the interpretation of it’s own allegorical messages. In the famous, chapter 4, shloka (verse) 42, of the Gita, Krishna exhorts the battle weary warrior Arjuna to battle in the Kurukshetra war, notwithstanding Arjuna’s sorrow at the previous loss of life:

“ tasmåd ajñåna sambhütam hritstham jñånåsinåtmana˙

chittvainam samçayam yogam åtisshottistha bhårata “


 “ Therefore, O Bharata, with the sword of knowledge slash these doubts of yours that have arisen out of ignorance within your heart. Taking shelter of the process of yoga, stand and fight! “

Shri Krishna thus reiterates the location of our accumulated ignorance. He uses the word "hritstham" which literally means heart, but actually refers to the four-fold antaha-karana comprising the mind, intellect, memory and ego.

This single shloka also provides a concise summary of the Gita’s fourth chapter. Ignorance in the form of individuality, selfishness and finitude, is our natural condition. This ignorance causes us to question our relationship with the world, just like Arjuna was confused in regards to his duty as a warrior to fight the just war. Having gained knowledge, in the form of universality, selflessness and infinitude, we learn how to transact with the world. All self doubt is destroyed. We act in a spirit of yajnya, where we see the same eternal essence in the actor, the action and the result. Ultimately, as stated in the shloka, we arise physically and spiritually, into a new level of consciousness from the outward delusion of our current existence, our Maya.

Thus the sanatan dharma of Hindus require that war must be avoided, with sincere and truthful dialogue. Force is the last resort, but should war becomes inevitable, its cause must be just, its purpose virtuous, its objective restraint of the wicked , its aim peace, its method lawful.  War may only be commenced and stopped legitimately. Weapons must be proportionate to the opponent, not indiscriminate tools of destruction. All strategies and weapons used in the war must be to defeat the opponent, not designed to cause misery.

That Valmiki understood this, is evidenced by the first duel between Rama and Ravan described in the Yuddha kanda of the Ramayana; despite Rama destroying the weapons and armour of Ravan, rather than easily killing him whilst defenceless, he asked Ravan to retire for the day and return re-armed.

Interpretation of Sita’s  Agni Pariksha, the test of fire

This passage, in the Uttara Kanda, the final book of the Ramayana has vexed many readers who have made a literal interpretation. How can Lord Rama, bow to the call of his subjects, question his beloved wife’s fidelity and subject her to the test of fire (Agni Pariksha) ?

Again as in the rest of the Ramayana, deeper understanding of the allegorical messages resolves the paradox. Agni, son of Brahma  has two heads, one of immortality and one a symbol of life. Agni features in 218 of the 1028 hyms of the Rigveda (ऋग्वेद ; Praise of Knowledge; 1700 BC ) and  is the first word of the first hymn:


अग्नि॒म् ई॑ळे पुरो॒हि॑तं यज्ञ॒स्य॑ देव॒म् ऋत्वि॒ज॑म् होता॑रं रत्नधा॒त॑मम्

agním īḷe puróhitaṃ / yajñásya devám ṛtvíjam / hótāraṃ ratnadhâtamam

Agni I laud, the high priest, god, minister of sacrifice, The invoker, lavishest of wealth.


He is the supreme director of religious ceremonies and duties, and figures as messenger who intercedes between mortals and gods (Rigveda 1.26.3).

Thus Agni is invoked by Lord Rama, the Paramatman to communicate with jivatman (Sita). Thus the Uttara Kanda, the final chapter of the journey, “ pilgrimage “ or advancement of Rama, is the communication of our innate divinity with our earthly body.

Valmiki also alludes to the silent power of suffering and sacrifice. Describing the moment when Sita enters the pyre and extinguishes the flames with her fidelity and chastity:

“  As if she were going home

to her place on the lotus

that rises up from the flooding waters,

she jumped in;

and as she entered, that fire was scorched

by her burning faithfulness “


Other epithets for Agni is Abhimani (from Sanskrit अभिमन्: ‘abhi’ towards and ‘man’ to reflect upon).

Thus, examination of the Ramayana through an allegorical lens, resolves the vexing conundrum of how the ideal man, devoted husband tests his beloved wife with fire. At the conclusion, Sita returns to the earth and Rama achieves his divinity – a clear allegory of body and soul at death.

Depiction of the Ramayana in different faiths and countries

There are other versions of the Ramayana, notably the Ramavataram in Tamil and Buddhist (Dasaratha Jataka No. 461, where the story of Rama is depicted as the previous life of the Buddha). In the Jain adaptations Rama becomes a Jain monk and ultimately attains moksha (freedom). In the muslim version, the demon Ravana receives boons from Allah rather than Brahma). There are also Nepalese, Cambodian (Reamker – the most significant piece in Khmer literature) , Indonesian, Philippine, Thai (Ramakien), Lao (Phra Lak Phra Lam ), Burmese and Malay versions of the saga. There are two Sikh versions of the Ramayana, written some 2000 years after the original; one version is a story where Rama has no divinity. The other version, also in the Guru Granth sahib attributes spiritual allegory to the characters where Ravan is Ego, Sita is Intellect, Ram is Inner Soul and Lakhshman is Attention.

The Ramayana has inspired art, including the Hindu temple art at Angkor Wat complex and spawned a genre of global storytelling from Indonesian muslim shadow puppetry to the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean as a source of moral and spiritual guidance. The story is interpreted in India via Bharatnatyam, the temple dance. In South East Asia different forms of dance including Javanese, Balinese, Thai and in Cambodia, Khmer Lakhorn Luang  has become the foundation of the royal ballet.


Celebration of Diwali – Lights and lotus rangoli

The name Diwali means row of lighted lamps and recalls the lamps (Deepas) lit to welcome back the triumphant Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman back to Ayodhya. It is celebrated as a five day festival. The celebration differs in different states. In northern India, Diwali celebrates the return of Rama and in Bengal goddess Kali, the destroyer of Evil is worshipped.

" Diwali Aarti " © ॐ 2015

Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the festival coincided with the day of release and return of Guru Hargobind Rai and 52 Hindu kings to the Golden temple at Amritsar, following false imprisonment in the Gwalior Fort by the Mogul (muslim) Emperor, Jahangir.

In Gujarat, deepas are lit to guide Lakhshmi, goddess of wealth, into homes which have been decorated with rangoli patterns, often depicting a lotus flower via open doors and windows. The lotus has special significance within the Ramayana for many Hindus and other dharmic faiths such as Buddhism.

 "Lotus of the Heart " © ॐ 2015


In the Bala Kanda, ( first book , of youth), Rama’s father says:

Highly fortunate am I to see your face, lovely like the lotus in full bloom

Similarly in the Yuddha Kanda, the penultimate book, of war, Rama says:

" When shall I behold Sita with charming hips, having long lotus-like eyes flourishing as prosperity, by conquering the enemies? "

The lotus shaped rangoli decorations in houses is also a reference to the obeisance of Rama before his epic battle with the demon Ravan;  he required 108 blue lotus flowers (neel padmayan) to perform his religious duty, but had only 107. He therefore offered to pluck his own eye to complete his devotion.

We might reflect on this selfless devotion in these economically straightened and war torn times. Irrespective of our personal faith, Diwali serves as a focus for universal friendship and the shared belief in the triumph of virtue over evil.

Jai Sri Rama

© ॐ 2015

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Sita Valmiki #Aum Agni Agni Pariksha Aum Aumphotos Interfaith Rama Ramayana Mon, 09 Nov 2015 21:29:08 GMT
Istanbul photographer - Nikon F2 on a train A great pleasure to be in Istanbul again - a  world metroplolis bridging the Bosphorous and bridging two continents and their people. In a cafe, I met a photographer in his 80s, Suleyman Ozcan. You may say, so what ? His father was a devout muslim and pilgrim to the Hajj. As such, taking photographs, in the 1940s was forbidden. The life choice that Suleyman took in taking a job as photographer to the Istanbul Elektrik Tünel Tramvay was therefore an act of disobedience. He went on to capture countless images with his Nikon F2.

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) IETT Istanbul Nikon F2 aumphotos photographer Tue, 20 Oct 2015 07:08:22 GMT
This is Syria - aftermath of war : a photo that changed Europe NAMASKARA: PLEASE HELP ALL YOU CAN - THEY ARE HUMANS TOO .......

People around the world were shocked to see the photograph of poor Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on a beach at Bodrum, Turkey. His father returned to Syria to bury his wife and two sons. His grief is unimaginable. Within a few days 350 000 signatures in the UK were amassed to demonstrate public support for the refugees; UK government policy changed. A single image can change the world. I too have witnessed the plight of the Syrian refugees - women and children pleading for sustenance on the streets, their menfolk dead. Whose heart does not weep when witnessing such tragedy. Please help all you can. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave strong leadership on this issue by stating that this was our moral duty. It is ironic that in a  secular state, the church and the populace, independently and in concert are leading the way ahead of government.

Similarly Hindus for millenia greet another and deities by raising their hands with the palms pressed together, the fingers pointing upwards and bow their heads, while saying the sanskrit word Namaskara. This symbolism reflects a fundamental precept of Hindu dharma, namely that there is no distinction between the divine and human beings. This was extended, analysed and clarified by Sri Adi Shankaracharya into Advaita philosophy.

Flowing from Namaskara, the symbol of mutual respect comes the concept of Seva - selfless service to man is equivalent to selfless service of the divine. Swami Vivekananda wrote extensively on this concept. Grandparents perform seva of the soiled newborn because the child is an incarnation of Lord Krishna. In the Alwar tradition of Tamil Nadu in India, an untouchable prays outside the temple until god calls him in. The priest hoists the devotee on his back, holds his legs with his own hands and brings him in to the sanctum sanctorum; the devotee becomes Thirupanalwar. The analogy with the Syrian refugees is clear and unambiguous - let us bring them in to the sanctum sanctorum of Europe on our backs. To help is to be divine. Let us remember this message on Janmaashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.

W H Auden (1907 - 73) wrote Refugee Blues in 1939, the eve of the Second World War - the words are still applicable today : 

Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:

Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,

Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:

We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.


In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,

Every spring it blossoms anew:

Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.


The consul banged the table and said, ‘If you've got no passport you're officially dead’:

But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;

Asked me politely to return next year:

But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;

‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’:

He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.


Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;

It was Hitler over Europe, saying, ‘They must die’:

O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.


Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,

Saw a door opened and a cat let in:

But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.


Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,

Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:

Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.


Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;

They had no politicians and sang at their ease:

They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.


Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,

A thousand windows and a thousand doors:

Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.


Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;

Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:

Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.


W. H. Auden


Hare Krishna, Hare Aum

A mother who doesn't know where to look because she is heartbrokenThis is Syria - aftermath of conflict; A mother who doesn't know where to look because she is heartbroken

A song by Marcos Vidal  - translated from Spanish:

" Have you ever looked into the eyes of a mother who doesn't know where look because she is heartbroken "

Has mirado alguna ves a los ojos de una madre 
que ni sabe donde mira porque acaba 
de perder el corazon 
has oido alguna vez como llora un niño pobre 
por que el hambre cuando aprieta 
ya hasta deja de ser hambre y es dolor 
has sentido alguna vez lo que siente un prisionero 
cuando ya sus piernas no pueden andar 
de puro miedo 
y tu escuchas su clamor 
y hasta sientes su dolor mientras gritan voceando 
no te quepa duda alguna te estan llamando 

has pensado alguna vez lo que sufre aquel que ama 
cuando la unica respuesta que recibe es tu rechazo 
y nada mas 
has sentido alguna ves un escalofrio extraño 
como si alguien te llamase a la distancia 
y no puedieras escuchar 
no lo dudews nunca mas 
y no intentes evadirlo 
pues te hara sentir pobre miserable y perseguido 
y si miras hacia atras 
hasta puede que quiza le descubras vigilando 
no te quepa duda alguna te esta buscando

This is Syria II - aftermath of conflict

[email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Human tragedy Moral duty Refugees This is Syria - aftermath of conflict #Aum Archbishop of York Aum Aumphotos Golden rule Good samaritan Interfaith Namaskara Seva Swami Vivekananda Syria Sun, 06 Sep 2015 03:51:01 GMT
Clair de Lune: Opening music for
  • opening banner is accompanied by  "Clair de Lune"  - third movement of Suite bergamasque by Claude Debussy. 
  • Not to be confused with Beethoven's  wonderful rousing moonlight sonata "Au Clair de lune " - piano sonata number 14 - here played by Willhem Kempf: 

    • or Gabriel Fauré's Op 46 No 2 Two songs " Clair de Lune" - here by sung by one of my heroines, coloratura soprano, Natalie Dessay:

    I hope you enjoy it while seeing the images

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Claude Debussy Gabriel Fauré #Aum Aum Aumphotos Clair de Lune Ludwig von Beethoven Natalie Dessay Opening music for Willhem Kempff Sat, 15 Aug 2015 09:17:39 GMT
    Connection with the divine " Your shots as always, fascinating. I could recognise some of the places you went to in Istanbul, such as the Hagia Sophia museum and the bridge over the Bosphorus. I particularly liked the black and white shots of human portraits, they tell the story of life. When you chose colour for the ceilings, you brought contrast of thousands of colours in single shot, well done. The short depth of field on prayers in the mosque worked beautifully, as spiritually this is exactly how you feel in a mosque, well concentrated on your own thing, and surrounded by a small halo of Allah’s attention. The rest of the world and what is happening around you does not register. Prayer time is a direct link to the creator, hence the name Salah (or Salat) which means a link.

    As always I could go to a greater length for each of your lovely shots, and I must admit I am green with envy, well done. "

    Mr. Khalid Amer, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, UK

    Blue Mosque Istanbul

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Blue Mosque Galata Bridge Istanbul Ramadan Salah Salat #Aum Aum Aumphotos Hagia Sofia Interfaith Mon, 13 Jul 2015 20:40:50 GMT
    Homage to the father of the Nation Visiting Anit Kabir - the massive mausoleum and museum complex for Mustapha Kemal Ataturk was not high on my list of priorities. However, I was really pleased to go there as it gave me an insight into the man, the Anatolian people, the independence struggle and the birth and development of a nation. The sarcophagus is huge and housed in an open building. Outside guards are ritually changed with much goose stepping, to the delight of visiting school children. The image of the Anatolian woman: tough, resilient, self sacrificing is depicted very well in paintings and tableaux in the museum. No wonder Ataturk moved the capital away from Istanbul ( that had been overrun by the Entente ) to Ankara. Personal memorabilia including clothes, wine glasses (He drank heavily and died of Cirrhosis - perhaps he had witnessed too many horrors during the war of Independence) and even a rowing machine are displayed. Ataturk was clearly a master military strategist, with a facility for the rousing phrase to motivate troops and the whole populace. 

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:25:22 GMT
    Intercontinental ferry across the Bosphorous - from Asia to Europe Iconic Istanbul sights greet the visitor crossing the Uskudar to Eminonu ferry. In 15 minutes you make an inter continental journey from Asia to Europe. There are equally startling sights on the ferry  lovers enjoying time together and travellers from a multitude of lands, drawn to the megapolis that is Istanbul. Sunset cast the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace into silhouette


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Bosphorous Europe Istanbul ferry - Asia Aumphotos Intercontinental Sat, 18 Apr 2015 16:09:54 GMT
    The Blue Mosque, - Sultan Ahmet Camii " May all believers ...bear witness to true brotherhood.” The Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet I, built in 1616 on the site of a byzantine palace is magnificent. It contains a tomb for the founder, a maddrassa and a hospice. However it is a disappointment if you are expecting blue iznik tiles (there are 20 000, in 50 tulip designs), although blue paint is used in the upper interiors. There are inscriptions by  by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, regarded as the greatest calligrapher of his time, lit by 200 stained glass windows below one main dome, eight secondary domes and six minarets. Despite Turkey becoming a secular state in 1923, it remains a major centre for islamic worship, which I have captured. There have been two papal visits. Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 said " May all believers identify themselves with the one God and bear witness to true brotherhood.”

    Devotion after injury - Prayer in the Blue Mosque, IstanbulDevotion after injury - Prayer in the Blue Mosque, Istanbul Devotion after injury - Prayer in the Blue Mosque, IstanbulDevotion after injury - Prayer in the Blue Mosque, Istanbul

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Sultan Ahmet Camii Aumphotos God Istanbul May Pope Bnedict XVI The Blue Mosque all and bear believers brotherhood." identify one the themselves to true with witness Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:27:19 GMT
    The Galata Tower (Christea Turris) - what lies beneath I visited the Galata Tower in Istanbul. Built by the Genoese in 1348, and named by them as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ), which itself replaced the  byzantine Megalos PyrgosThis former tower was used by a garrison to control the Golden Horn; unsurprisingly it was destroyed in the fourth crusade. There is a viewing storey at the top with Panaromic views of Istanbul, a reataurant and nightclub - standard tourist attractions. Outside there ar cafes and street artists, but there is a seamier life in the back streets. Syrian refugee children are used to beg for money and Albanian and other east European girls sell sex in back alleys.

    Galata Tower ceiling of restaurant


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Christea Turris Galata Tower Istanbul Aumphotos Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:25:48 GMT
    Going to the dentist and learning political history in Istanbul I had to have some dental treatment in Istanbul. 30 minutes after a telephone call on a Saturday, my treatment was complete. I could see some children's drawings in the surgery and a collage picture of Kemal Attaturk, father of the Republic. The pictures were given by children who had been patients of the dentist - I felt relieved that he must be good for children to make presents for him. He pointed out the cute, smiley, hearts and all picture from a little girl and the much more sombre picture from a boy. He said the difference represented the difference between the genders. I asked about it and the history lesson began. He reached out for a rare coffee table sized book on Ataturk, showing me photographs of him as a young soldier, then as a world statesman. Then came the story that Vladimir Lenin sent arms to Ataturk to fight the allies. I asked why he would do that when neither Turkey nor Ataturk were communist. Apparently Lenin's thinking was that any enemy of imperialism was worth supporting. I was then shown a picture of the dentists father as a child - wearing a dress and a framed collection of his hair locks. The dentist refused to take any money, so i took and sent some photos. The man in the chair is a friend.

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aumphotos Istanbul dentist Istanbul Kemal Ataturk Vladimir Illyich Lenin dentis Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:36:52 GMT
    Turkish National Wrestling Team On my travels, I met the Turkish National Wrestling team, just returned from Germany. The coach is about half the size of the wrestlers but ruled them with a rod of iron. The team were cheered by fans at Istanbul - but two young women behind them weren't interested.......

    Turkish National Wrestling team

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Turkish national wrestling team Aumphotos Istanbul Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:29:06 GMT
    HOLI at HERHCA The colourful celebrations at HERHCA 2015 were great. Fun and friendship were celebrated.

    Those are most stunning pictures to keep in our memory " - Mr. Tapan Mahapatra, Chairman Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association

    Holi at HERHCAHoli Friends

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #HERHCA Aum Aumphotos HERHCA Hindu Holi Hull Tue, 24 Mar 2015 03:17:14 GMT
    Very Beautiful ! - Brazil I was pleased to be invited by Dr. Geetha Uphadhyaya, Artistic Director, Kala Sangam to take photographs of Shristi dance company . The show, called  Jham ! was a fusion of modern music and classic Bharata Natyam. I therefore tried to capture a particular aspect.

    Laura Perdido of Sao Paulo, Brazil commented " Very Beautiful !" 

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Arts Council England Bharata Natyam Jham Kala Sangam Srishti dance creations #Aum Aum Aumphotos Hindu Sat, 21 Mar 2015 03:43:02 GMT
    Colours of HOLI ! I was delighted to take photographs of the colourful HOLI celebrations at HERHCA; much fun was had by all. It took a day to remove the coloured powder from my camera and lenses ! Rainbow colours of HOLI !

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) HERHCA #Aum Aum Aumphotos Hull Interfaith Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:18:18 GMT
    Mystical Music at Kala Sangam Mystical Music at Kala Sangam

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Kala Sangam Mystical music Mystical music at Kala Sangam Aumphotos Santoor Sikh Ustad Fri, 06 Mar 2015 06:36:28 GMT
    Savoy Hotel wedding photography Savoy Hotel wedding photography

    Savoy Wedding Photography


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aumphotos Savoy Hotel Savoy Hotel Wedding Photography Photography Wedding Fri, 06 Mar 2015 06:26:35 GMT
    Oxfordshire wedding photography - wow !

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Oxfordshire wedding photography Aumphotos Country wedding photography Fri, 06 Mar 2015 06:22:11 GMT
    Kent wedding photography - wow !

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aumphotos Gorgeous Kent wedding Wedding photography Fri, 06 Mar 2015 06:15:14 GMT
    These photos are wonderful - York Minster these photos are wonderful " - H . Moore, Community Engagement Officer, York Minster Revealed, UK

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Community Engagement Interfaith week York Minster Aum Aumphotos Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:23:59 GMT
    Photos are awesome Those Shivrathri photos are wonderful and other project photos are awesome too. You are a wonderful photographer "

    J Sivakumar Dance Instructress, Manchester UK, Kala Sangam & HERHCA

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Arts Council of England #Aum #HERHCA Aum HERHCA Kala Sangam Shiva Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:53:37 GMT
    Shivoham by Manasamitra in York Minster Canon Chancellor Christopher Collingwood interviews Supriya Nagarajan in York Minster for Interfaith week Canon Chancellor Christopher Collingwood interviews Supriya Nagarajan in York Minster for Interfaith week Manasamitra performs  Shivoham in York Minster for Interfaith Week. Performances by Ben Castle, Shri Shriram ( formerly of Badmarsh and Shri hip hop duo),  Supriya Nagarajan

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Ben Castle Shiva Sri Shriram Supriya Nagarajan Advaita Chapter House Interfaith Interfaith week Manasamitra Minster Roy Castle York York Minster Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:48:08 GMT
    Life's Lattice III - The mushroom: National Geographic calibre !  i favortied many in the elements and in the lattice serie- some of the best i have seen! seriously- national geographic caliber!- Alicia Vasquez


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Tue, 03 Feb 2015 22:47:15 GMT
    " Eye of the storm " - Stunning shot ! " Stunning shot ! "  - Paul Atherton, Lancashire UK

    " Stunning Capture " - Jack Lainey - Stevie, Blackpool, UK

    " Great " - Amelia Beata Papierowska, Poland

    " Great Shot " - Stacey Smith, Photographer Norfolk, UK

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) London Eye #Aum Aum Aumphotos Stunning Shot Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:31:36 GMT
    Power to the railways - Very awesome ! " Very awesome"  - Jamie Hughes

    " Lovely tones and textures" - Julie Thonnings Whelan


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Power to the railways #HERHCA HERHCA aumphotos Sun, 01 Feb 2015 22:24:29 GMT
    York India Cultural Association, York Hindu Cultural Association Dear Friends, we have organised a Kathakali dance performance on June 13th 2015 at the National Centre for Early Music, York. Proceeds will be donated in part to the Bhopal Medical Appeal who are helping to care for the thousands of victims, many of whom are children of the gas poisoning 30 years ago and the subsequent poisoning of the ground water. You can follow these events on this blog or on the Facebook pages of the York India Cultural Association and York Hindu Cultural Association. Please join them and like them to follow progress of this and other events.

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) York India Cultural association Bhopal Medical Appeal York Hindu Cultural Association Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:04:17 GMT
    The Lattice of Life - Beautiful photos. Interesting and drawing Beautiful photos. Interesting and drawing...... these photos have really inspired me. Thank you for your art"   - Jeannine Andre, Mariposa, California

    " Great pics Avijit ! Like the B&W ones "- Andreas Paehge Fotografie, Gelsenkirchen, Germany 

    " Great Photos" - L Johannes, Cambridge, UK

    " The Lattice of Life - intriguing, intricate, innumerable inroads in quest of light ! Avijit's lens leaves such impressions" Dr. G. Upadhyaya, Artistic Director, Kalasangam, UK

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Arresting Aum Aumphotos Beautiful Drawing the viewer in to photograph Ispiring Lattice of Life Railway Architecture Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:37:24 GMT
    They are Great ! - Photographs of York Minster Bosses " These are great! "  - Jason Archuelta, California USA

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Manasamitra Bosses Manasamitra Nativity York York Minster York Minster Bosses Fri, 16 Jan 2015 20:56:19 GMT
    York Railway Station - I am most impressed; Wow !; fabulous, fabulous !!! " I am most impressed. You need to join our society - you obviously have loads of talent " 

     - Dr. Allan Harris, President York Photographic Society

    " Wow "  Mick Dodds, Jersey

    " fabulous, fabulous !!! I live in york and so love the victorian design that make it look a bit like a seashell. thank you for sharing this !" Julie Thonnings Whelan


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #York Photographic Society #York Railway Station Aum Leeman Railways York York Photographic Society York Railway Station Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:40:28 GMT
    Diwali at HERHCA, Hull city of culture " the most colourful and vibrant photos " Mr. Tapan Mahapatra, Chairman HERHCADirector, Hull City of Culture Board

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #HERHCA Aum City of Culture Diwali HERHCA Hindu Hull Interfaith Interfaith week Sat, 10 Jan 2015 14:34:23 GMT
    Yorkshire wedding photography - Aumphotos: Great photos, and a great website Great photos, and a great website "  John Hobson 

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #Aumphotos Aum Aumphotos: Great photos, and a great website Great photos Yorkshire wedding Yorkshire wedding photography great website Sat, 10 Jan 2015 13:52:16 GMT
    Wow! What a nice set of photos! Polytunnel worldPolytunnel world "Wow!  What a nice set of photos!  " Prof. David Schultz, Professor of Synoptic Meteorology, University of Manchester

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #Polytunnel world #Wow Aum Polytunnel World Wow Sat, 27 Dec 2014 13:11:14 GMT
    Loving embrace what a shot ! this was such an emotional scene and so well brought out .....dances in your eyes and heart !"  Dr. G. Uphadhya, Artistic Director, Kalasangam

    Wonderful capture of an exquisite moment of art in motion!" V Venkat, flautist, Kalasangam

    " Thank you for such an amazing gallery of stunning photographs. 'Beautiful feel' to those still pictures! we can all relive the moments of that production by just looking at your amazing work. " S. Subramaniam - Dancer, Actor, Kalasangam

    Awesome photos! Thank you so much ....:) The emotion & feel of the scene so very well captured:)) " N Rammohan, Dancer, Actress, Kalasangam

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Kalasangam Kalasangam #HERHCA #Illuminating York #National Centre for Early Music #The Dance Divine HERHCA" Illuminating York National Centre for Early Music The Dance Divine Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:33:24 GMT
    Life amidst Ruins " beautiful contemplative mood of the horse.......superb painting or photography !!???" Dr. G Uphadhya, Artistic Director, Kalasanham

    " love the feel it has an antique image.." P. Bertucci, California, USA

    " I love this" Denise Bucato. Buffalo, New York

    Ruin and NatureRuin and NatureKirkham Abbey November 2014  

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #English Heritage #Kirkam Abbey #Old England #Reformation #Welcome to Yorkshire English Heritage Kirkam Abbey Old England Reformation Welcome to Yorkshire Fri, 26 Dec 2014 22:45:43 GMT
    It's a dog's life, Rupert ! "Thanks they're brilliant....."   A & B KnightYork Rose Framing

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Crufts #Horse and Hound #Lhasa Apso #Tibetan temple dog #York Rose Framing Crufts Horse and Hound Lhasa Apso Tibetan temple dog York Rose Framing Fri, 26 Dec 2014 13:34:47 GMT
    Tashi Lhunpo Monks " Thanks, those are a knockout! ... Brings back great memories though public performances were very rare when I went to Tibet (twice!) "  - Stephen Lord, Author of the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook

    Durdak - Death's embraceDurdak - Death's embraceThe Tashi Lhunpo monks, in exile from Shigatse, Tibet are now in Bylakuppe, Karnataka state, India. The order started in 1447. The skeletal dancers, Durdak, Lords of the cemetry is a dance showing death is never far away.


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #Buddhism #National Centre for Early Music #Tashi Lhunpo #Tibet #Wanderlust #World travel Aum Buddhism National Centre for Early Music Tashi Lhunpo Tibet Wanderlust World travel Mon, 22 Dec 2014 10:54:45 GMT
    Lead me from Ignorance to truth " Thank you for the superb photos of the recent puja, the black and white photos are superb" - J. Gopal, Aarti at HERHCA

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #HERHCA #Hindu #Upanishad Aum HERHCA Hindu Upanishad Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:40:25 GMT
    York Minster Overhead Treasures

    "Your photos are fabulous!"  Helen Moore, Community Engagement Officer, York Minster revealed, UK

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Blue Peter Cathedral Ceiling Bosses Medieval Saint Peter St Peter York Minster Thu, 04 Dec 2014 01:30:31 GMT


    "hope to see more of your awesome pictures" Katie Sharma, Administrator Photography Group, NSW Australia

    Desi Nach ballerina at HERHCA , Hull City Hall

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) australia awesome ballet Thu, 04 Dec 2014 01:23:24 GMT
    Diwali celebrations HERHCA Hull City Hall

    550 celebrated Diwali in Hull City Hall under the auspices of HERHCA, Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association  - a wonderful evening of devotion, dance, fireworks and feasting.

    "They are wonderful as always. Love the ballet pics!!"  Dr. U. Rajesh, Yorkshire and Humber, Secretary, HERHCA

    They are simply brilliant..." Mr. T. Mahapatra, Chairman HERHCA, Board member, Hull City of Culture

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #Aum #Diwali #HERHCA #Hindu #Hull Aum Diwali HERHCA Hindu Hull Thu, 04 Dec 2014 00:58:39 GMT
    The Dance Divine Many thanks for your mail and the superb images ! well we have a great artist on KS board now and we are so proud of that !! we must speak about a photography project as well soon - Dr Geetha Upadhya, Artistic Director, Kalasangam Uk

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) # Baharata Natyam # Dance # Hindu # Kalasangam # National Centre for Early Music #Aum #NCEM Aum Bharata Natyam Dance Hindu Kalasangam NCEM National Centre for Early Music Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:44:50 GMT
    Feedback a very attractive site....... The mixture of portraits, still life and townscapes weaves a fascinating pattern - Maurice Vassie

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) #City of Faiths #Interfaith #Interfaith week #York City of Faiths Interfaith York Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:25:00 GMT
    Onam at HERHCA Over a hundred people celebrated the festival of Onam in Hull at HERHCA 

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aum City of Culture HERHCA Hindu Hull Onam Sat, 15 Nov 2014 22:35:32 GMT
    Fun and colour at Holi at HERHCA Much fun was had at Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association (HERHCA) to celebrate Holi - festival of colours in remembrance of the piety of Prahlad. Colours of HoliHoli

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aum City of Culture HERHCA Hindu Holi Hull aumphotos Sat, 15 Nov 2014 22:29:06 GMT
    The colours of Holi at HERHCA

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Aum Colour HERHCA Hindu Holi Sat, 15 Nov 2014 22:21:30 GMT
    Aerial Photography feedback from a helicopter pilot As per pictures, they are fabulous. I agree with you that pictures tell the story as long as you can tantilise your imagination. Cockpit reminded meof my own days of flying.
    The angle and the depth of the pictures are fantastic. It is not easy to get that while flying.
    I liked the one where you have captured the split of formation during airshow. STUNNING - M Dhiman, ex Helicopter Pilot 10.11.14 York MinsterYork Minster
    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) York Minster Castles Castles in the air England by air Red arrows formation Mon, 10 Nov 2014 01:41:15 GMT
    It runs in the family ! Lakeside viewLakeside view

    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) *Lakeside Lake Como My son jon view view" Sun, 12 Oct 2014 22:32:22 GMT
    Thanks for the Feedback Durdak - Death's embraceDurdak - Death's embraceThe Tashi Lhunpo monks, in exile from Shigatse, Tibet are now in Bylakuppe, Karnataka state, India. The order started in 1447. The skeletal dancers, Durdak, Lords of the cemetry is a dance showing death is never far away. Thank you for these comments in September  - the website had 256 views in the first week:

    "Wow" - Oana Boteanu, Travel Eye Photographers  7.10.14

    "Stunning" - Dr Geetha Upadhya, Artistic Director, and former CEO, Kalasangam UK

    "Beautiful Pictures" -  Mrs. Sylvia Fairley, Partner ENT Kent

    "Thanks" Uma Rajesh - Portrait drew 27 facebook likes out of 56 views 4.10.14 in HERHCA group

    " Admirable" - Mr Cihat Sirin, Istanbul, Turkey 15.9.14

    "You are awesome" - Srinivas Reddy Komandla 23.9.14

    " Wonderful photos" - Dr A Waise, Dorset 27.9.14

    " I love your work" - Dr Kari Hawkins, Cambridge 17.10.14

    " are really good... and they look good technically- Stephen Lord, author of ' Adventure cycle-touring Handbook: Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide'  22.10.14

    Nice picture " Sergio Bryner, Founder, Moon Photography Group 10.10.14

    * ... these great photos" - Dr. P Harper, Edinburgh 22.10.14

    " website looks amazing, really beautiful photos. Also the event seems fantastic" Nik Vaidya, Mayfair, London 23.10.14



    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) Wow awesome beautiful stunning Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:23:03 GMT
    Background to our work Reflected gazeReflected gaze It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

    “ When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams

    My first photographic prize was when I was aged 10; the picture was taken with my father's Praktica which had a 50mm Zeiss Tessar lens and which I printed at home on Agfa Gevaert paper.  Prize money was used to buy Kodachrome film and books on portrait photography. Photographic heroes were Henri Cartier-Bresson [ ], who coined the term “the decisive moment” and ultimately founded Magnum Photos, and Ansel Adams who captured images of the Americas. Both were mindful of composition, light and shade and made iconic images. The Chinese would write poetry for thousands of years with a painting; Shu shi called poems imageless pictures. My tutor at university taught me optics; he made his own lenses to look at muscles – he won the Nobel prize and the Order of Merit. Later I was fortunate in being able to spend a lot of time with Bill Brandt - he taught me what motivates his art and his techniques. More recently I have benefitted by association with the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).


    [email protected] (Aumphotos ॐ) *Henri Ansel Adams Bill Brandt Bresson" Cartier Cartier Bresson art iconic poetry Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:43:24 GMT