Photo Stories

tibetan photographer

In Search of the Black Tents

The People Working to Maintain Their Traditional Nomadic Way of Life

Tibet's Drokpa, or nomads, have been herding livestock on the vast high-altitude pastures of the Tibetan Plateau for millennia.

Traditionally, Tibetan nomads were very free, but recently, a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the indigenous knowledge of the Drokpa has resulted in the rapid erosion of this ancient way of life.

This essay explores the lives of four Drokpa communities holding the thread of tradition in the midst of modernization and imposing development.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the EMERGENCE website.

People of the Solitudes

People of the Solitudes

The Soul of the Drokpa Nomads of Eastern Tibet

Tibet is well known as "a land of snows," having the youngest and therefore some of the highest mountains on Earth. I found a landscape of awesome beauty, with an average altitude of 14,000 feet and an extreme, savage climate. It struck me that it takes a tough and resilient people to flourish in these conditions.

Perhaps the vastness and solitude of the landscape have been a source of inspiration for the Tibetans, helping to encourage their natural bent to visionary mysticism and to develop their unique brand of Buddhism.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the MOOWON website.

DROKPA: The Nomadic Mountain People of Tibet

Global Oneness Project

DROKPA: The Nomadic Mountain People of Tibet

I have been photographing Tibetans for a number of years—deeply inspired by a culture that places spirituality at the heart of life. I have been most moved by Tibet's Drokpa, or nomads, who until recently comprised an estimated 25 percent to 40 percent of the Tibetan population. Drokpa means, "people of the solitudes," and they are truly a mountain people, herding livestock on vast high-altitude pastures for millennia. Their way of life has remained unchanged for centuries, making them natural stewards of Tibet's grasslands and living examples of original Tibetan culture.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the Global Oneness Project website.

tibetan photographer

Spirits, Rituals and Festivals of the Drokpas

Sacred People. Sacred Place

Tibet is a sacred land, its people an expression of that sacredness. For 17,000 years before Buddhism arrived the nomads and farmers of Tibet practiced Bon Shamanism which revered the land and related to it as a spiritual being. The sky, mountains, rivers and lakes were animated by gods, demons or nature spirits.

The establishment of Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century transformed the country and created a culture of tremendous depth and richness. Today, shamanic practices continue to coexist alongside studious monasticism and a lived compassion for all beings.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the MOOWON website.

tibetan photographer

Dragons, Drokpa and a Drukpa Kargyu Master

The Role of Dragons in Tibet

In the West, dragons are the stuff of myth, legend and wonderful children's stories. But to Tibetan nomads, or "drokpa", dragons are real and seeing them is always an auspicious sign.

While travelling in eastern Tibet I visited Sonam Wangbo and his family, nomads who live in the remote, beautiful and sacred Dahu Valley. We travelled on horseback to his spring home high in flower-filled pastures and, settled in front of his stove with the Tibetan staple, a bowl of tsampa, I found myself asking him if he had ever seen a dragon.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the MOOWON website.

Guardians of the Sacred in Tibet

Guardians of the Sacred in Tibet

The Sacred Land of Drokpa Nomads

How is the worldview of Tibetan nomads (and other indigenous peoples) so relevant for the world today?

"Nomads believe that a person's life force is connected with a locality and the spirits that dwell there and that a deterioration of this bond can have negative repercussions." (From Drokpa: Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya by Daniel J Miller)

The Tibetan nomad's understanding of the sacred landscape brings reverence, care, and respect to the land, which is the basis of the conservation and environmental protection that the earth so badly needs today.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the KOSMOS website.

Guardians of the Sacred in Tibet

One Hundred and Eleven Trees

By Chelsea Steinauer Scudder

When a marble mine began to strip a village of its forests, the people of Piplantri, India, developed a tree-planting project that reclaims a vital and ancient relationship between trees and women.

This compelling story is told by Chelsea Steinauer Scudder, with images provided by Diane Barker.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the EMERGENCE website.

Guardians of the Sacred in Tibet

Visions of Spiritual Ecology

Buddhistdoor Global

Few outsiders to the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau have had the same access as Diane Barker, who has moved in diverse circles across Asia since the 1990s.

This article looks at her focus on the drokpa, which translates roughly to "people of the solitudes." These nomadic communities embody the oldest traditions of life in this remote region: patterns of herding, horsemanship, and kinship bonds that date well into the earliest periods of Tibetan history.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the BUDDHISTDOOR GLOBAL website.

Guardians of the Sacred in Tibet

The Spritual Ecology of Tibetan Nomads

One Earth Sangha

Tibetan nomads have a way of life that is a model of ecological balance and sustainability, but they are being forced to adapt to challenges of government resettlement policies, global consumer culture, and climate change.

Author Raymond Lam describes photojournalist Diane Barker's exploration of the lives of Tibet's nomadic drokpa, "people of the solitudes," living on the remote Tibet-Qinghai Plateau.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the ONE EARTH SANGHA website.

Epping Forest

The Understory by Robert Macfarlane

The story comes from a chapter of Robert Macfarlane's recent book "Underland: A Deep Time Journey" with photos of Epping Forest taken by Diane Barker, commissioned by Emergence to accompany the chapter in the magazine.

Click on the image above to read the full story on the EMERGENCE website.