portfolio of 20 haunting black and white photographs primarily made by Sonam Gyatso Thartse Ken Rinpoche (1930-1988), abbot of Ngor Monastery in Tibet in the early 50's, before the Chinese Occupation of Tibet. Other images were taken by his brother Lama Kunga Rinpoche (1935- ) presently teaching in Berkeley, California and his cousin Jetsun Sakya Kushola, one of the highest woman Lamas in Tibet, presently teaching in Vancouver, B.C. Photos made by the few foreigners who entered Tibet before the Chinese Communist takeover tend to appear staged and their subjects overly emphasized. These photos made by Tibetan ecclesiastics of their own environment are direct and uncontrived even though they sometimes depict some of the most famous celebrities of Tibetan culture. Without being at all mystical these pictures seem to be portraying the "unseen", a certain presence that goes beyond the ordinary. Though Sonam Gyatso was abbot of the strictest monastery in Tibet he maintained a simple darkroom and photo lab. It is fortunate for us that he left us this visual document of a world now destroyed as seen in the photos of Ngor Monastery before and after the Chinese Communist invasion.
- Moke Mokotoff
This portfolio of archival black and white prints is available for sale. All proceeds benefit the Ngor Monastery in Exile in India and checks are payable to the not for profit Ewam Choden Tibetan Studies Center, Ngor Monastary Project. Email order photos for further details.