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By  David Scheinbaum , Contributions by  Ninso John High , Other primary creator  Kazuaki Tanahashi
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“These photographs/photograms are to be considered ‘chemical calligraphy’: unique, split-toned gelatin silver prints….These works are truly a mirror, a visual representation of my inner or emotional self at the moment they were drawn, what Alfred Stieglitz referred to as ‘Equivalents.’—David Scheinbaum

“In this remarkable collection of David Scheinbaum’s ensōs, brushstrokes appear under a kind of starlight in a darkroom—what we witness is a miraculous unfolding of light and dark dancing through moments of time, coming and going in a vast landscape of being and non-being. The images startle our attention into a state of wakefulness, a flurry of feelings that often settle into a quiet awe, curiosity, wondering. What is it we are seeing?”—Ninso John High

Ensō (Zen circle) represents enlightenment. Creating ensō art is contemplative, the drawings meditative. The word “ensō” in Japanese refers to a circle that is hand drawn, often in one single brushstroke movement and one single breath. The ensō circle can be open or closed, representing either “complete” or “openness.” It symbolizes the complete cycle of life, birth, death, and rebirth. The ensō can also express our totality of being. It is the direct expression of this moment-as-it-is. It is believed that the character of the artist is fully exposed in the way their ensō is drawn.

Quarantining during the COVID pandemic offered photographer David Scheinbaum the removal of life’s distractions and the time and focus to embark on a long-desired path to work camera-less. Using the tools of a Zen calligrapher and darkroom chemistry, Scheinbaum’s creative process involved exposure of photographic paper, using various brush types brushing on chemistry under a dim safelight, sometimes using fixer, other times developer, at times both.  His technique varied with each image.

This beautiful book presents a selection of Scheinbaum’s ensō drawings with an insightful essay by Zen monk and poet Ninso John High and an introduction by Zen calligrapher, teacher, author, and Buddhist translator Kazuaki Tanahashi. The book includes examples of Tanahashi’s and High’s recognizable vibrant colored ensōs. ,

David Scheinbaum’s photography has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous museum collections. He is former Director/Chair of the Photography Department in the Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Professor Emeritus at the College of Santa Fe. He is the author of numerous books including Varanasi: City Immersed in Prayer (George F. Thompson Publishing, 2020); Bisti, (University of New Mexico Press, 1987); Stone: A Substantial Witness (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2006); Hip Hop: Portraits of an Urban Hymn (Damiani Editore, 2012); and with his wife, Janet Russek, Images in the Heavens, Patterns on the Earth: The I Ching (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2005). ,

ISBN: 9780890136843

ISBN-10: 9780890136843

Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press

Publication Date: 07/15/2024 - 12:00am

On Sale: 07/15/2024 - 12:00am

Pages: 120

Language: English


Photography / Individual Photographers / Artists' Books

Art / Mixed Media

Body, Mind & Spirit / Mindfulness & Meditation

Philosophy / Zen