“Being clear about what we’re doing and why is the first step in doing it better. If you’re not happy about the honest answer to this question, make substantial changes until you are.” Seth Godin. Jan 15, 2013
Not a day goes by when I don’t have the extreme privilege of hearing stories of young Tibetans fleeing the Chinese government’s occupation of their land. The stories are shocking, filled with bravery, a fight for freedom and many times, end in tragedy. Just today, a friend of mine told me his story of crossing the Himalayan Mountains (as they all do in order to get to India). He told me of being captured by the Chinese government the first 3 times he tried to escape, put in prison and then returned him to his home. The fourth and final time, he travelled for multiple weeks over the mountains, with some dying along the way. Food runs out, the temperatures are freezing, there are unmarked paths with dangerous cliffs. One young man fell to his death during their journey.
I want to help. This has inspired me to start a documentary project of these young adults, coming from Tibet, as refugees, holding on to their culture, learning for the first time about their country’s history (as it is mostly banned in Tibet to learn of their own history), all the while trying to embrace their new surroundings in India, separated from their families and from the way of life they’re accustomed to. A beautiful mixture of tradition and modern appeals. Starting a new life…. with “Refugee Status”.
This is the first image of the series.
(Sengye, shown above, is a young Tibetan man from the Amdo region of Tibet. He wears a traditional fur hat and necklace, identifying him as Amdo. He was raised in a nomadic family (as most are in that region), breeding yaks, sheeps and goats. He fled Tibet on the same night of his father’s return from being imprisoned by the Chinese government for 14 years. They didn’t see each other.)
Please feel free to share your thoughts, input and comments.
My last post discussed the importance of lighting for all types of photography. I used a before/after example from my photo shoot at the Belluschi Residence in Portland, Oregon for Oregon Home Magazine. For this post, I wanted to show some of the interiors, including the kitchen, living room, and interior of their beautiful yoga studio.
What is especially unique about this property is that it was originally designed by the famous architect, Pietro Belluschi. Once purchased by Mike McCulloch and Maryellen Horkheimer, they wanted to keep the original feel and space as initially intended, but with some modern updates. Mike being an architect himself, kept the transition seamless. Maryellen is a master gardner and landscaper, and together the home is now not only a comfortable living space, but also a scenic garden retreat.
The marriage of architecture and its surroundings made it feel like there was no distinction between inside and out. The rolling landscape was either in your window’s view or you were enjoying the tremendous space the family built for outside living. I wanted and needed to capture that as the photographer, lighting the rooms, making sure the windows show the exterior view as well as maintaining the warmth of the interiors.
Lighting Matters. Period.
If you’re a fellow photographer: learn it, breathe it and utilize it to acquire the results you desire for your imagery. If you’re a potential client, looking for a professional photographer to hire for a project: make sure you choose a photographer that has a discerning eye concerning light. Choosing a photographer that knows how to manipulate light to give you the appropriate look and mood for your advertising campaign or editorial spread is crucial.
Below is a before and after photo from an editorial photo shoot I did for Oregon Home Magazine. Adding proper lighting and balancing it with right time of day can turn a dull and mundane photograph into something that pops off the page… And, let’s face it, isn’t that what everyone wants?