Monday, February 24, 2014
Library Of Congress: Sikkim Photos
Dr. Alice S. Kandell gave over 15,000 images to the library of congress in 2010. A selection of around 300 of them, which are included in the "Prints & Photographs Online Catalog," show the lives of the Sikkim Kingdom in the high Himalayas. She took the photos in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The photos show a culture that is slowly diminishing.
I enjoyed looking at this entire collection and had a difficult time picking out just one. The photo above is titled "Reincarnation of a holy lama takes a break from his reading. He holds a prayer book covered in wood." I've always found it fascinating how young the holy lamas are and what their lives must be like to be raised and live their entire life with that mantel. I also enjoyed the composition and candid nature of the photo above. Dr. Kandell had special permission to take these photos and get some pictures outside of the typical more formal shots you'd see.
Taking photographs that few have the chance to take, documenting something that is fading and may soon be gone, adventure in new and foreign lands... these aspects of the photos all interest me. It is interesting to look through the collection and see where modern amenities are slowly working into the culture. I wonder what it looks like now? 40 years later.
Technically, I think of the great feat it is to get a photo in film without the instant feedback of our digital cameras and the range of equipment that is readily available to us now. I see some minor composition changes I would make to the photo above in the digital darkroom, but I think she hit the exposure spot on. It could have been posed, but looks like it was something you really would see even if she just said "wait, stop right there" while she snapped the photo.