Welcome to Timeline Photos. A few years back I started peeking around my archives in search of some of the first photographs I had taken. Here records my quest into better understanding my long term love of camera and experiencing the world with it in hand. All photos appear in chronological order hopefully revealing an evolution of how I see and what moves me to speak with light.

Images are licensed Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. You are welcome to share an image given that you credit me, Irene Kato, as photographer with mention of my blog link, 'irenekatophotos.blogspot.com'.

Contact irenekatophotos@gmail.com for information about prints, permissions, and on-site assignments. Thank you!!

(Photo credit Phil Monahan of Orvis)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

On Buddha's birthday

She prays

On the evening of May 25, the Tam Bao Temple held a "Buddha Birthday Celebration". The Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery participated in the event following their week of creating a mandala sand painting. There were hundreds in attendance, both temple members and visitors, and the atmosphere was reverent, welcoming and lots of fun, too. There was truly a community spirit shared by many. These photos capture the monks chanting then sharing words about living with compassion and thoughtful actions. Following the ceremonial section, talent performances were given by members of the temple for all to appreciate. //

There a four Buddhist nuns in this image, and I really gravitated toward their presence during the  night.  When I first arrived with my daughters, all monks were already on a stage facing a display which included a young Buddha with one hand pointing up and the other down.  The monks were organized with the head Tibetan monk, Thay Dao Quang of the Tam Bao Temple, and another in the closest row to the Buddha, then the Tibetan monks, then four female Buddhist 'sisters', as I had heard one called during the week.  There was one sister with whom I was more familiar from my daily visits.  She had always been busy working outside every time I saw her,  yet she always showed so much kindness to my girls with her laughter and gestures.   This was the first time seeing her in a different context and I felt in awe of her ways.  She is not clearly visible from this perspective, but she is standing in prayer with the others.  They were very beautiful together.

In wanting this profile view, I stood from within a small pine tree along their side and zoomed out to full length on my lens.  With a 6.3 aperture and ISO 1600 (using older body), I knew that the shutter speed would be too slow to keep the camera steady.  I went for it anyway because I really liked the way they looked at that moment.  There's a bit of blur and technical challenges, but I feel that it works with the texture effects of the tree and the black and white processing.  That is what I felt, a tenderness towards the nuns, and I hope that is delivered through the image.

His name is Karma

After the pouring of blessed sands into the Mississippi River, the Tibetan monks, with Thay and members of the Tam Bao Temple, spent some time taking group shots.  A few of the monks stepped aside to take a photo with the bridge in the background, and I stepped near asking if I could take their picture, too.  They graciously agreed, and I took a couple quick ones when surprisingly I see a big smile and peace sign from one of them.  I felt so much joy at that moment, and of course my photographer voice inside my head kept telling me to get it right despite my excitement.

I'm thrilled with this image, after cropping out much space to the left and bottom of the frame, because I feel like I know him in that moment.  Sincerity, kindness, joy, happiness, connection, love.  It's hard to look at him and not smile.

I printed out the photo and took it back to him in the evening 'Buddha Birthday Celebration' at the temple.  At first I gave a set of photos from the sand pouring to Lobsang, a monk who had escaped Tibet at the age of 10 with his family.  Then later on I had an opportunity to give it to him myself as he sat with other monks in the rear of the building.  He smiled as he held it, and I hoped that the image and gesture spoke to him of my appreciation for what he gives to the world.

Another chance to reconnect and find out his name came right before we left.  I asked him kindly and he said, "Karma".  He spelled it for me when I asked, I shared mine, and then we shared an embrace.  Always in that will be appreciation and some unspoken understanding of kindness and oneness in my heart and mind.  A blessing of the best kind.

Thank you, dear Karma.

Pouring of blessed sands into the Mississippi River

Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery visited Baton Rouge as guests of the Tam Bao Temple and created a sand mandala during the week of May 20-25. After its completion it was deconstructed. The morning after, May 25, they performed a ceremony in which they poured the blessed sands into the Mississippi River for global healing. // http://www.batonrougebuddha.com/

Monday, May 20, 2013

in the moment of creation

in the moment of creation

the paths of enlightenment
and transformation are born

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sand mandala by Tibetan monks in Dalai Lama's honor

This sand mandala was created by Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to New Orleans.  I was with my ten year old daughter's class on a field trip to the Audobon Zoo, and we scooted out early to take a look and experience the mandala's dismantling ceremony.  The sands had been blessed by His Holiness upon its completion earlier that day, making the creation very sacred and special.  Following its deconstruction ceremony, we walked with a thousand other people and the monks to the Mississippi River where they were dispersed for world healing.  

A few moments made me smile more than others.  First of all, my daughter's interest in the creation itself and then the ceremony really touched me.  The photo of the mountain like structures above is shared because she was captivated by their presence in the midst of the intricacies.  She had spotted them before me, and I was very appreciated of her eyes and view.  The monks' chants and playing of instruments swelled my person and transported me.  As I watched and listened, I was moved to wonder.   I giggled out loud when the kind woman coordinating and announcing to the large crowd explained how we were to move to the river with the monks.  I'm not sure if she was concerned that we would kick into Second Line mode dancing and pulling out white handkerchiefs to wave in the air, or just didn't know that New Orleanians know quite well how to proceed through the streets following a group of musicians.  I found subtle similarities, and really appreciate the ritualistic intersections.  Finally, it was quite the visual juxtaposition with the monks wearing their high, golden arched hats walking in front of and through the Mardi Gras World warehouse to get to the river.  I really soaked it up, and wished that I was one of the credentialed photographers right there in front with them to capture it all.  My minds eye has keeper set of images.

Also to note that I've written this entry on May 27 following the week of this same group of monks visiting Baton Rouge and pouring the sands of another mandala into the Mississippi River again.  Looking back at these photos and now knowing them a bit more, I truly appreciate the newness of this experience.  How fortunate to witness it two times over a one week period.