Alan Humphris, a faithful reader, went to Tibet and shot some really nice images. Here’s a selection with a few questions.
Alan, please tell us a bit about yourself
I’m from the UK, a 40 something year old software developer by trade working mostly in the finance industry.
Although software design has an element of creativity it is mostly about producing something within a tight set of constraints, so photography gives me a freedom of expression, an outlet that everybody needs and should have.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I guess I came into photography relatively late in my early 30’s and it was a 3 month trip to Japan, China, and Tibet in 2000 that became the catalyst .
The sights sounds smells tastes woke a need to share these sensations and memories, and when I got back and with the film developed I found I seemed to have the knack of catching these. Well, the sights at least.
How did you end up in Tibet?
My primary focus was to visit Japan, but whilst in Asia I wanted to tread a path less trod. And via boats, trains, planes, and shady visa purchases ended up in Lhasa.
What attracted you most to shoot there?
For me it has an almost mythic aura to it, almost a place out of legend.
But I knew the Chinese government had been aggressively modernising and settling the area so I wanted to see how this collision was playing out.
Why would you recommend Tibet as a travel destination to our readers?
Well, not for the Yak tea that’s for sure. The “highlight” attractions are worth it. The geography of the place is amazing and the way people have adapted to it and the culture its has created well worth experiencing.
Also, it’s been fourteen years since I was there but the collision of cultures is still taking place and the tensions between people still prevalent. There are many stories to be told that should be told.
How were you and your camera received?
On the whole very well. Tibetans wanted to share their stories, way of life, culture and were as open as they could be about their situation.
The Chinese I met there were good honest hard working people, less willing or perhaps less able to share their stories.
What camera did you use and why?
A Canon Ixus (Elph) APS Film camera because it was pocketable, affordable and I have a thing for small neat gadgets.
These are great. But APS is getting rarer by the day. Any anecdotes you can share?
More perhaps a heads up. Don’t let your guide and driver have too many beers on any trip you may do!
On an overnight tour out to a more distant monastery ours did and the next day I ended up sitting up front having to grab the wheel and steer whenever the driver fell asleep!
Any closing comments?
Much of photography is about respect for people and their culture.
How we as individuals interpret these, see the detail and make connections between different elements makes photography for me a tireless source of wonderment.