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If You Find the Buddha    photographs by Jesse Kalisher order for
If You Find the Buddha
by Jesse Kalisher
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A back cover quote sums this small book up nicely - 'If one's awareness is sufficiently cultivated, one can find the BUDDHA nearly everywhere.'

Inside, Jesse Kalisher explains how his love of photography evolved through life, and presents photos that show the Buddha in all sorts of surprising places - from the front cover image of a store selling Buddha statues, each with its own price tag, to a beach Buddha sand sculpture.

In his Foreword, travel writer Jeff Greenwald speaks of the dissonance of having once seen a portrait of the Virgin Mary side by side with a Marilyn Monroe pinup, but tells us that a Buddha image 'never feels intrusive.' He speaks of how Buddha originally forbad the making of his likenesses, which are now spread across continents, commenting that 'meeting the Buddha is always a welcome surprise.'

Round every page of this small book is just such a welcome surprise, and many quite unusual juxtapositions. I especially like one that looks like a still life - on an outdoor restaurant shelf are flowers and bottles and condiments, with a serene Buddha statue presiding calmly over all - and another that shows a small Buddha at the bottom of a colorful fish tank.

Leafing through these pages is like taking a quick trip to South East Asia, to see how ubiquitous Buddha is in the lives and minds of people, and how his images create oases of calm in the busy frenzy of daily activity and thought.

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