In recent photography, Tibet has usually appeared in color. In the brilliant sunlight of the high plateau, blues are bluer and reds redder; Tibet is a colorist’s dream. But the quality of light in Tibet also reveals itself in a perpetually changing play of brightness and shadow, whose gradations of intensity are less well captured in color than in the medium of black in white. In my photographic efforts during my visits to Tibet over the years, therefore, I have sought to attend primarily to the chiaroscuro revelations of landscapes, persons, and artifacts. The images presented here reflect aspects of journeys in 1990 and 2002. In 2002, this work was undertaken in conjunction with the Tibetan Himalayan Digital Library Project based at the University of Virginia.

Matthew T. Kapstein
Paris, Tibetan New Year, 2003

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Tibet in
black and white










Images © 2003 Matthew T. Kapstein
Copyright © 2003 Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation