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Lions Roar : March 2018
LONG STRANGE JOURNEY On Modern Zen, Zen Art, and Other Predicaments By Gregory P. A. Levine University of Hawai’i Press 2017; 344 pp., $62 (cloth) Long Strange Journey offers the first critical analysis of Zen-inspired modernism and its ubiquitous legacies. Gregory P. A. Levine is a professor of Japanese art and architecture and Buddhist visual cultures at the Univer- sity of California, Berkeley. So it comes as no surprise that this is a dense, academic work with careful footnotes and a lengthy bibliography. That said, Levine clearly relishes his material and is having fun with it. Long Strange Journey begins with the first contacts between Europe and Japanese Zen in the sixteenth century and then moves on to such topics as Zen and the art of iconoclasm, the commodification of Zen, and Zen humor. Ulti- mately, Long Strange Journey explores two essential questions: What is authentic Zen art and who gets to lay claim to it? ZEN CAMERA Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography By David Ulrich Watson–Guptill 2018; 224 pp., $22 (cloth) Whether you’re a newbie, amateur photographer, or seasoned professional, this book will help you cultivate creativity with a camera and in all areas of your life. A professor and co-director of Pacific New Media, David Ulrich has organized his book so that, much like a college semester, it takes a minimum of twelve to fifteen weeks to work through it. But the material is so rich that you could continue to circle through it for a lifetime. The first essential step is to establish a visual journaling practice, taking photos every day, which Ulrich calls a “Daily Record.” You don’t need to run out and buy a fancy camera for this, he says, as most of us have perfectly good cameras on our cellphones. So while a cellphone can be seen as a mindless distraction, it doesn’t have to be only that. It can be a tool to truly see the world and experience the joy and fulfillment of creative expression ♦ LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 81