The Author

I left England in 1993 and, apart from some summer visits, did not return to live there until 2003. In that time I lived and worked in Asia, and travelled around at every opportunity.

I visited Tibet twice. On the first trip (November, 1994) I flew in to Lhasa from Kathmandu. On the bus from the airport to Lhasa I sat next to an American guy and due to a shortage of rooms at the guest house we had chosen, we ended up sharing. He was a professional photographer who had been funded by the Guggenheim Foundation to take photos in Tibet. He asked If I’d like to accompany him when he took photos in Lhasa next morning.

My first shock was that he got up very early, but I had to admit that the morning mists were very evocative. My second was that when I took pictures that were obviously very good subject matter, he did not. I asked him why. He replied that there was no sunlight. He explained that sunlight made the difference between a good photo and an excellent photo.

Tibet is the highest country in the world. Lhasa is at 13,500 ft. The light there is so bright that a photo with mixed light and shade makes part of it either totally black or totally white. I learned the difference between what the eye sees and what the camera can record. Tibet is an amazing country. Though I had already spent the whole of 1994 in India and Nepal and had already experienced some radical shifts in perspective, that visit to Tibet totally changed my life.

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Crossing the Himalayas from Srinigar, Kashmir, to Ladakh, by Hindustan Ambassador; July, 1994. The driver stops to fill the radiator from a lake. I’m leaning out of the back window.


 
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