Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category

Buddha-full Commodities.

As I prepare to make my own collection of Buddha photos for my Etsy shop, I thought I’d browse and see some of the handmade Buddha items already for sale. As I’ve said before, whatever qualms I may have with the commodification of Buddhism as a “trend,” I’m not above beautiful objects.




Silver/Swarovski Crystal Earrings by celestial autumn | Buddha onesie by WrenWillow | Happy Buddha & Turquoise Bracelet by DornickDesigns |Buddha in Tree Photographic Print by Ann Wilkinson | Buddha Glycerin Soap by dreamy1 | Mini Buddha Collage by collagecreations | Buddha Blossom Tea by good4you | Namaste Print by lindawoods | Buddha Buttons by glittergirlgalleries | Buddha Screen Print by kazmattsas | Tian Tan Buddha No. 6 by RandomNotions |Buddha Cuff Links by Bellamodaartist


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I’ve had some requests for prints of my photos. (No, really. I have! I always feel like I have to defend this lest people feel I’m getting uppity or self-important. Honestly, I’m just as shocked as you are.) So, I’m finally getting my act together and putting some up on my Etsy shop. In case you didn’t know, I do indeed have an Etsy shop of my collage works.

And yes, in case you didn’t know, I’m primarily a collage artist. Photography is a wholehearted passion of mine, but my artistic training is in collage/multi-media work. I’ve had a few shows in actual real galleries and whatnot. Again, not to get uppity, just sayin’. I am indeed the real deal in this department, much as I am often loathe to admit it. I’m self-effacing to a fault where art is concerned, perhaps due to unrealistic expectations as to what an “artist” is. Whatever. I live, breathe, and would even eat art. I guess that’s close enough.

So, anyhow. Etsy. It costs me a small fee to list photos, so I’m choosing a sort of “best-of” selection. I will try to post between one and five new images each week, probably on Thursdays. In addition to whatever is listed, all photos shown on this blog (which are usually in my Shoot the Buddha set on Flickr as well) are available in print form. Really, I’m willing to negotiate on any photo I’ve taken, as long as I have a hi-res format available. The only caveat is that I won’t sell a portrait without the express permission of its subject. So, you can request one, but I give no guarantee how long it would take me to obtain permission or even that said permission would even happen – though I can’t imagine too many of my subjects really objecting too much, seeing as they’re all aware that the photos are online. (I never take photos of anyone who indicates that they don’t want pictures taken, and I never post photos online of anyone who specifically tells me that they don’t want their photos published – it’s part of why I do very, very little street photography, mostly limited to documenting street art in progress. It’s not a legal issue for me, just a respect issue that I feel strongly about – not for other photographers, mind, just me.)

So, this is a pretty rambly post to announce that I’ve updated my Etsy shop. I’m also going to add another section today or tomorrow of Buddha photos, since I have  ton of them and that’s the sort of “theme” of this blog, and yeah, there will be another (probably also rambly) post about that when it happens.

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photo copyright Jerome Yulsman

photo copyright Jerome Yulsman

Speaking of serendipity and the Beats in my last post, I saw a headline on the publication of the “lost” Kerouac-Burroughs collaboration the front page of the Phoenix today. And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is a two-narrator account of Lucien Carr’s murder of David Kammerer, unable to be published during Carr’s lifetime.

Word is that the book, as a piece of literature, isn’t really all that great. As a document of its time, however, it encapsulates the spirit and time of 1944 Greenwich Village. I’m looking forward to reading it on November 1, when it comes out. From the excerpt published in the Phoenix:

After, I sat in the front room with a towel and a glass of cold orangeade, and I asked Phillip where he had gone last night with Ramsay Allen. He told me that after they had left Dennison’s, they started out for the Empire State Building.

“Why the Empire State Building?” I asked.

“We were thinking of jumping off. I don’t clearly remember.”

“Jumping off, hey?” I said.

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Gary Snyder is stalking me. First, this article in the New Yorker (link to PDF scan; article not available from New Yorker website. Oh, and page 2, a photo of Snyder and Allen Ginsberg was accidentally scanned upside-down. Let’s just pretend that was a bit of a dada touch.) and then, waiting for a friend in the Harvard Co-Op, I happened upon this book of Beat Generation photography which, naturally, featured a few shots of Snyder.

It’s interesting to notice once something (or someone) enters your world, how it/they kind of crop up everywhere for a while. I’ve long had a personal fascination with the Beat generation. Ok, that’s a bit of an understatement. I have a total obsession with Jack Kerouac. Previous to reading the New Yorker article, my familiarity with Gary Snyder was limited to his role as Japhy Ryder in The Dharma Bums; a book which greatly influenced my late-teens. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a Buddhist home, so it was only natural that reading a novel about Buddhism by my favorite author would send me on a bit of a spiritual quest in my adolescence.

(Incidentally, during this period, I once had a two hour conversation with some Mormon missionaries about Buddhism. That has nothing to do with much of anything, but I managed to get one of them thinking about how it’s all the same void, man, and that was good enough for me.)

Certainly Snyder, who is an ordained Zen monk, has a greater connection to Buddhism in America and Buddhism as explored by the Beats than Kerouac, and I really should take this serendipitous stalking as a sign to get more familiar with his work. I found this essay on Buddhist Anarchism, and though it was written in 1961, a lot of Snyder’s points still hold true.

No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets. The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet except against oneself, the persons one is supposed to love, or the revolutionary aspirations of pitiful, poverty-stricken marginal societies like Cuba or Vietnam. The conditions of the Cold War have turned all modern societies — Communist included — into vicious distorters of man’s true potential. They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them.

Substitute “War on Terror” for “Cold War” and this is still an all too accurate portrayal of modern life. Our current economic crisis was fueled by unbelievable greed. I’m not sure if anarchy is a better solution, but it certainly would be an improvement for government to keep in mind that we as humans are all interconnected – and that link extends to all human work, including banks and corporations. If one of us fails, we all may fail.

Anyhow, I digress. It’s interesting that Gary Snyder has popped up in my life, and I’m definitely interested in finding out more about what this Beat sage has to say.

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Art for Obama.

In case anyone got the wrong idea by my ironically quoting John McCain about the “cratering” of our economy, I’d like to share with you the rather exhaustive post I made on MetaFilter about the Art for Obama auction. 

I am about as liberal as you can get and I wish Obama would actually move father to the left, but hey, I’d still vote for him twice if I could. 

(Kinda blurry image of Obama pin on my camera bag taken with FujiFilm point & shoot because my partner is playing Spore on the computer with the software for my DSLR.)

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