Join David Samuel Robbins on an expertly curated photographic journey in to the cultural and spiritual heart of the Himalaya.
Focusing on two equally amazing countries — Bhutan and Nepal — this ten-day tour includes 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites and a traditional Tibetan masked dance festival in Thimpu, Bhutan.
Bhutan, "The Land of the Thunder Dragon" is a serene and stunningly beautiful country deeply grounded in Buddhist values and in the government's enlightened policies for pursuing the "Gross National Happiness" of its people.
Nepal's Kathmandu Valley is home to both traditional Hindu and Buddhist cultures, an ancient and unique coexistence not found anywhere else in the world. This dynamic social fusion has created an exceptionally diverse, vibrant and visually rich environment for photography, with equal parts Indian and Tibetan influence.
We will explore the principal religious shrines for Hinduism and Buddhism, each with its own complex visual iconography and incredibly ornate traditional architectural styles. We also visit with master artisans in their devotional painting, sculpture and metalworking studios.
Bhutan and Nepal provide endless opportunities for environmental portraiture, classic street photography, traditional architecture and stunning landscape imagery. This extraordinary workshop experience offers an inspired, condensed introduction to the very best of Himalayan culture, history and religion.
Our first five days are spent in Kathmandu, Nepal, where we visit seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Swayambhunath (aka the "Monkey Temple"), an ancient Hindu and Buddhist complex perched on a hill top; Boudanath, one of the world's largest Buddhist stupas, surrounded by a Tibetan refugee enclave with over 50 monasteries; Pashupatinath, a revered Hindu Shiva temple complex on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River; and the medieval cobblestone alleyways and historic Durbar Square of Bhaktapur.
Next we travel to Bhutan, to witness a ritualized Tibetan Buddhist masked dance performance reenacting mythical struggles between good and wrathful deities. We also explore the lush Punakha Valley and the exquisite 16th Century Punakha Dzong, a massive fortress/monastery featuring the main Monk's Assembly Hall, one of the architectural masterworks of the Himalaya.
These represent only a portion of the expedition’s highlights, and throughout there are endless opportunities to engage with the ancient, vibrant, and visually stunning architecture and culture of Nepal and Bhutan.
Find out more: Receive a detailed e-brochure with additional information about this workshop.
In his instruction, David prioritizes aesthetic issues over purely technical considerations. He provides frequent informal demonstrations in the field and, through evening slide shows, shares the work of world-class documentary, fine art, and travel photographers. In open discussions, we evaluate this work to consider ways we can adapt some of these artists’ ideas and techniques to our own styles.
“The central challenge for today’s travel photographers is to develop a distinctive, personal style of visually representing their experiences,” states David, “And to somehow return home with images that transcend predictable clichés, having created a stylistically unique and consistent body of work that comments as much about the artist’s individuality as about their subject matter”.