It's been eight years now that I have been making photographs of the Tibetan community in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. I look back at images I shot in 2007 and I am blown away to see that, in what seems like the blink of Father Time's eye, little kids have become teenagers, teenagers have turned into young adults, and a few of the community's elders have passed away, going on to Whatever is Next.
This week I received word that a beloved 82-year old Rinpoche (a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism) had died at his home near Seattle, and a funeral service would be held to honor him. All community members were invited, including me. I let Rinpoche's family know that I would attend and pay my respects, and that, as always, I'd have a camera with me. If the family wanted me to photograph the event, I would do so. If they'd rather I not take pictures, I would sit quietly.
One of Rinpoche's sons said yes, please do take pictures.
The image above is a portrait I made of Rinpoche this past summer when I photographed his daughter's wedding. The photographs below were shot last week at the funeral.
This is history-in-the-making I am documenting for the local Tibetan community, the Wheel of Life as it turns.
I hope the images reflect the respect and love I have for my adopted community.