Fine art photographer Karl Dmitri Bishop has unveiled his new series Samsara, a photographic exploration of cyclic existence informed by study of Buddhist teachings. Each image corresponds to a state in the bhavacakra, a pictoral representation that is rumoured to have been devised by Buddha himself to help ordinary people recognize and transcend the impermanent physical world and its repetitive struggles.

Samsara is something of a magnum opus. It defines and deepens the themes prevalent in Bishop’s mythos, casting his signature theatrics as reimagined Tibetan symbolism. The direct translation to its title is “wandering through,” as apt a phrase as any to describe the transient spaces his work creates. Aesthetically, the photos are some of the most striking in his portfolio; breathtaking, haunting images that present a mix of ethereal intrigue and muted sensuality.


As a series the work is well researched, the different states each photo representss illuminated by Bishop’s intuitive visual style. ‘Salayatana’ (above) depicts our six earthly senses, the fifth of twelve Nidanas describing the ignorance of the physical world, while ‘The Awakened One’, top, is named for one who perceives reality as it truly is. In-depth stuff, see?

You can find the whole series of images on Karl Dmitri Bishop’s Flickr. Below are a few standout images.


Nidanas | Sankhara


Nidanas | Bhava


Karma |

Words from Wesley Freeman-Smith