The Great Mighty Ocean

The Darma-Vinaya, or the Principle and the Practise, refers to a way of living that follows a moral code and a balance which one can disturb for the better or the worse, as in Karma. Various Photographers and Artists have themselves drawn inspiration from Buddhism or have been attributed with the same theme. To develop my project further I have researched some of these Artists and I hope to gain some ideas to enhance my own concept about the spiritual side of Buddhism. Hopefully I can create images which have a connection with some of these concepts.


The Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, is famous for a number of series’ that he produced which had the theme of Time. He has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘Time Exposed’. In his Seascape series, he travelled far and wide photographing the sea and sky at various times of the day and in different times of the year. His intention was to produce a pristine image of the sea. A timeless image that would have been the view for most of the Earth’s history before humans came and cluttered it with a myriad of complexity. See for Hiroshi Sugimoto an image is not just a moment in time but an episode. His Theatre’s beautifully sum this up. Here we see the entire section of a film in a movie theatre, projected in one instance. For Hiroshi Sugimoto, this idea struck him as being very interesting, mysterious and religious.


Hiroshi Sugimoto successfully draws a connection between the elements within the photograph and the process involved in making it. The seascapes series, capture a layer of Air and water perfectly divided by the Horizon. If ‘energy cannot be destroyed nor created’ then there is a cycle of energies transmitted between the Air and the water. Buddha himself describes The Dharma-vinaya as a great mighty ocean. In these shots it is hard to measure the scale and this I find awe-inspiring. Just how vast is everything in the Universe?


This Hiroshi Sugimoto inspired image, was taken a top a Dawlish cliff face at dawn using Cokin ND filters.


Whilst on Location I took the opportunity to photograph the amazing shoreline  I love the interplay between the marauding shadows and the fiery morning sky. The ripples on the surface spreading out representing bliss and tranquillity in an otherwise turbulent world.I Couldn’t resist capturing the image of Buddha in this peaceful environment. Setting the camera to take a long exposure. The light reflecting off the passing water creates this mysterious cloudy effect. Here the Signifier is Buddha and the signified is the clarity of wisdom that Buddha resonates.

In my next post I will explain how I have taken Inspiration from Impressionist styles pre-modernism and contemporary, to explore the idea of enlightenment, nirvana and freedom.


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