Books in Brief Winter 2002


Himalayan Odyssey
© David Robbins
Photographs by David Samuel Robbins
Seattle: A. D. Editions, Inc.
128 pp.; $65.00 (cloth)

Each of David Samuel Robbins’s full-color portrait occupies a spread of its own, providing a window into an intimate, accessible moment of daily life. Rather than exoticizing his subjects, Robbins allows viewers to experience the rhythm and color of this region, whether through a row of decaying family photographs, porters smoking on a mountain pass, or footprints embedded in a wooden floor from fifty years of prostrations. This album presents a documentary not only of Robbins’s journey but of cultures in flux between tradition and modernity

© David Robbins


Visions of Buddhist Life
© Don Farber
Don Farber
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002
240 pp.; $39.95 (cloth)

Known for his documentary photography of Buddhist life around the world, Don Farber brings together his best work to date in this volume. The full-color photographs take viewers on a journey from Los Angeles streets to Asia, and are accompanied by detailed captions. They depict moments of noise and silence, of stillness and motion, of landscape and interior, of devotion and play. Also included are Farber’s portraits of such venerable Buddhist teachers as Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, and Kalu Rinpoche.

© Don Farber


Where the World Does Not Follow:© Stephen Johnson
Buddhist China in Picture and Poem

Mike O’Connor, ed.
Photographs by Steven R. Johnson
Boston: Widsom Publications, 2002
128 pp.; $25.95 (paper)

Through poems and black-and-white photographs, O’Connor and Johnson provide dual glimpses of Buddhist culture in ancient and modern China. Poems by Zen and Taoist hermit-sages of the T’ang Dynasty are presented in Chinese characters alongside their English translations. Photographs of the landscape and people of modern China complement the ancient poetry in juxtapositions both surprising and literal. From a row of teacups to misty cliffs to a hermit’s retreat, here is a literary and visual tribute to a land where religion and daily life are inseparable. ▼

   Poem:© Stephen Johnson

You've arrived
from my hometown,
and must know
of its affairs.

When you departed,
was the winter plum
by the silk-framed windows
blooming?

   —Wang Wei (701-761)

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