Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a psychologist, photographer, author and Professor at Naropa University where she founded the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Program and the Wilderness Therapy program. Buddhist practice and passion guided her photographic journeys in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Laos, Burma and Cambodia. For more than 24 years she has worked as a Gestalt, Jungian and contemplative based psychotherapist in Boulder, CO.
Capturing the subtle artistic rendering of an ancient statue in a photograph is a mindfulness practice. Each step demands patience, energy and awareness. Photographing sacred images in Asia, my subjects are my teachers. Monolithic sculptures of the Buddha in meditation teach serenity and perseverance. Figures of the female Buddha and bodhisattva, Guanyin, offer compassion and grace. The many unknown artists who have tooled these iconic sculptures are my inspiration, unknowingly offering their gifts to so many across the centuries.
I love the sense of history that a weathered carving exudes. It connects me to nature in the same way I feel when walking through a temple garden that’s grown just a little wild. While much of what I photograph is ancient I’ve come to understand it’s transitory nature. Many of the sites I’ve shot are the ones that were not bombed or destroyed for politics or religious fervor. I feel a duty to salvage what color and beauty remain.