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I think John Maeda is simply brilliant. He’s now President of the Rhode Island School of Design. He’s written books, is a designer and artist. I’ve followed his blog and love his ethics, playfulness, and love of life. Here’s a video demonstrating these things.

John Paul Caponigro is digitally printing his father's famous print, White Deer. It's an image I've always loved. While taking a class at John Paul's studio, we got to meet Paul and talk about his print. We learned from about the many steps it took to make this print in the darkroom.

Click on the link below to read what both John Paul and Paul have to say about it.

The digital print is available on John Paul's website: http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/store/RunningWhiteDeerPaulCaponigro.php

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I’m working on a portrait of Roshi (Robert Aitken).  On his 91st birthday I took a photo of him before lunch.  The lighting in the zendo is very bad and it’s almost impossible to get a good shot without artificial light.

I’m taking a class from David Julian and was inspired to do a composite to make a better portrait.  I added a stone background so to give the appearance of a mountain cave.  At his right shoulder is Kwan Yin.  I took a photo of a painting in his residence and manipulated it.  Inscribed in the rock is the Heart Sutra.

Here’s a before:
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Here’s the work in progress:
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It’s a good thing I’m playing catch up. Since I’m not doing anything exciting right now, it gives me an opportunity to write about other things.

This summer, I took some time off to go to a photo retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery.  It’s location is Mount Tremper in the Catskills in New York State.  The abbot there is John Daido Loori.  He trained under Minor White, one of the great masters in photography.  His training with Minor White opened the world of spiritual seeking and zen.  Daido Roshi’s book, The Eight Gates of Zen, is the book piqued my interest in zen.

The monastery is an old Christian monastery in a beautiful setting.  The schedule was to sit zazen every morning from 6 – 8 AM.  Then there was work practice for a couple of hours.  Daido Roshi gave a talk in the afternoon before sending us off on a photo assignment.  After dinner, there was zazen until 9 PM and then lights out.  The schedule was very much like sesshin or a zen retreat.

I was drawn to the monastery’s cemetery, Nirvana Forest.  A lovely, peaceful place surrounded by pines.  The grave markers were simple wood as you would find in temples in Japan.  Taizan Maezumi’s stupa is there.  An article on the ZMM site says that the first creature buried in the cemetery was a dog. 

Here is a link to photographs…in the forest, at the cemetery.

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