Breath of the Soul

Published! In JPG Magazine Issue 19
Uploaded 28 Jul 2008 — 49 favorites
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© Rob Case
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Likes 3
Favorites 49
Comments 17
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More of Rob Case's Photos

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Photo license: © All rights reserved

This is an antique Buddha Incense statue from the 1840’s that a fantastic family gave me as a "thank you gift" back in the mid 1990’s. The family and I were brought together by chance – they were picked to be the subject of a network cable television show I was shooting. During the three-day production, filmed at their home in Elkhart Indiana, we all got quite close.

The family’s husband was a psychiatrist; his wife was the stay-at-home mother of two very cool, adopted children. The kids were so well mannered and behaved that you’d think they were from the 1800’s as well!

When it came time to part ways, the family presented me with the Buddha as a gift of friendship and because we shared similar “what life is REALLY about” philosophies.

In today’s world, it’s cool and at the same time, hard to imagine what it must have looked like back then (before the Civil War) – this statue in someone’s house blowing incense, just like it does today. So MANY things have changed since then yet the statue remains the same.

This picture was taken with my Nikon D-3 using a 60mm Nikkor micro lens on a "set" I created in my one-car Washington DC garage. Buddha sits on a platform built on two sawhorses upon which was set an old steamer trunk, covered with matte black fabric. (I wanted to get the platform up to hip-level so it'd be easier to shoot and light.) After hanging some limbo-black background fabric on the closed garage door, I sparked up some incense in the Buddha to get him to "breathe." The smoke and the statue was lit with two, AA battery penlight flashlights, the one to picture-left left was "key" and illuminated the smoke, while the flashlight on picture right provided "fill."

All I had to do was be patient and shoot enough frames until I got the "best breath."

The result...? Buddha is blowing his good karma back to you, and to that special family I met a little over ten years ago...

17 responses

  • Jessica Martinez

    Jessica Martinez gave props (29 Jul 2008):

    Very well executed.

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (29 Sep 2008):

    this is a wonderful photo! the smoke coming from it just stopped me dead in my tracks. this is so well lit. smoke is highlighted and the Buddah as well.

  • :) L P

    :) L P gave props (8 Nov 2008):

    this is cool!

  • Maurie A

    Maurie A gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    Amazing shot, Rob....... Congrats on the publication!!!

  • Jennifer Benmouna

    Jennifer Benmouna gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    I saw this in the first issue I received. Amazing!

  • Reza Fitrianto

    Reza Fitrianto said (27 Jun 2009):

    great shot !!
    i'm very like this shoot !!
    congratulations ..

  • david ong

    david ong gave props (25 Jul 2009):

    a masterpiece!!

  • Mary Brown

    Mary Brown gave props (5 Aug 2009):

    What an amazing shot. Thanks for explaining how you used the black cloth in the background and used two flashlights for lighting!

  • Kevin Kabuki

    Kevin Kabuki gave props (21 Aug 2009):

    Excellent shot, we have quite a few not-so-picturesque Buddhas about the house, a couple of Avolokitesvhara, and tons of incense burning gear. We burn incense maybe once a month, go figure. Buddhism, on the other hand, we try, which is all you can do, no?

  • El Hamidi

    El Hamidi said (26 Sep 2009):

    The story adds the charm! thank you for sharing

  • Jordan Mansour

    Jordan Mansour gave props (22 Oct 2009):

    Great story and shot!

  • Katie Damien

    Katie Damien gave props (23 Nov 2009):

    This is a great shot born from a creative thinker. Nice.

  • Rob Case

    Rob Case said (24 Nov 2009):

    WOW - thanks folks for your comments! Glad you liked the shot!!!!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes   said (3 Aug 2010):

    Wonderful, and creative shot... Love it!

  • George Campos Jr.

    George Campos Jr.   gave props (5 Jul 2011):

    Awesome shot

  • Kayla Goldstein

    Kayla Goldstein gave props (12 Dec 2011):

    Astonishing shot, you do great work

  • Denise Regan

    Denise Regan gave props (16 Mar 2014):

    Excellent capture.

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