Breath of the Soul
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This is an antique Buddha Incense statue from the 1840â€™s that a fantastic family gave me as a "thank you gift" back in the mid 1990â€™s. The family and I were brought together by chance â€“ 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 familyâ€™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 youâ€™d think they were from the 1800â€™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 â€œwhat life is REALLY aboutâ€ philosophies.
In todayâ€™s world, itâ€™s cool and at the same time, hard to imagine what it must have looked like back then (before the Civil War) â€“ this statue in someoneâ€™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...
Also by Robert Case
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