Mandala Man

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel

Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel ~ Alan and Marilyn Bergman


Quite wondrous is the way that photography may enrich the philosophical knowledge of symbolic forms. A case in point is my coming upon a man, crouched and kneeling, drawing chalk circles on the asphalt pavement. He drew concentric forms one after another, stopping to brush aside excess dust, then continuing silently lengthening the patterns. When I showed the images to a friend, she suggested that they were mandalas.


We searched the word mandala on the internet and the Mandala Project site came up defining the word as derived from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. “Loosely translated to mean ‘circle,’ a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a cosmic diagram that…appears in all aspects of life…earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.” It is often used as a form of meditation to escape the mundane.


Undoubtedly, the street artist was drawing mandalas on a bright sunny afternoon. A few days later a drenching rain would erase them, but for now this transient symbolic art added brilliant color and pattern to the gray pavement

All Images were shot with Olympus EM5-Mark II and the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens: the man drawing with an exposure of 1/250 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 400, +2/3EV; man brushing at an exposure of 1/400 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 400; mandala pattern with an exposure of 1/800 sec at f/7.1 and ISO400.