Monday, October 26, 2015

Preserving a Culture

Though being a parent in today's complicated and conflicted world is no easy matter, one thing we in America don't have to worry much about is whether our kids will learn our language and culture. We have an educational system in place, and, providing moms or dads get their kiddos off to school each day, Billy or Becky will learn their ABC's and, later, the history of our country.

Not so for parents in Tibet -- where China is in control -- or even for Tibetans who have fled into exile in other nations. Tibetan language and culture will slowly die out unless this generation of Tibetans steps up and tutors the next.

I've been photographing Tibetans in Seattle for eight years now and the pictures I've posted above are from the Tibetan community's  Language and Culture class, held each Sunday in a rented classroom and taught by volunteer parents and elders. Tibetan kids go to regular school Monday thru Friday,  and to Tibetan school Sunday.

A fundraising banquet was held Saturday evening, proceeds going to the school. Below you'll see some behind-the-scenes moments as the kids practiced (and played, because, after all, they are kids) before taking the stage and performing for their proud parents and community.

One Tibetan teacher addressed the banquet crowd and said: "We will not be erased."

For my Tibetan friends in Seattle, educating the next generation is personal.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Mountain Life

For those of us in the American West who own hiking boots or mountain bikes or skis, it is a generally-accepted fact of life that there is no such thing as a bad day in the mountains.

If you don't believe it, I offer five photographs today as proof.

Most weeks I spend at least one day getting high -- hiking up, up, up into the mountains, I mean. More often than not I go with a friend or two or three, and we just have a hell of a time -- talking or not-talking,  but always enjoying the peace of the woods and the wild places.

Just being.

I shot the above photograph on one of two hikes a friend and I did last weekend in the Wallowa Mountains of northeast Oregon. The pictures below presented themselves yesterday as three buds and I trekked in Central Washington near Lake Wenatchee.

This is a wonderful part of the world where I live, and I will never, ever,  not feel fortunate for the life I have.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Food as Art

Food is a big deal in the community where we live,  and recently some friends who own an amazing restaurant asked me to hang out for a couple of evenings and shoot some pictures for their web site.

The place is called Mossback, and, as someone who feels like he is blessed with an artistic soul, I knew immediately I was among my artist kind at the restaurant. My friends bring a  creative touch to everything they do.

Best of all, these folks use LOCAL produce whenever possible, and even the beer they serve is brewed nearby. As I moved around and made photographs,  my friends kept handing me mug after mug of beer that had come from a brewery right down the street.

I can't with a straight face call what I did those nights "Work."

Friday, October 2, 2015


For nearly 40 years now I have made my living as a photographer, and one of the things that I really enjoy about my work is that most of the time it is not -- work, I mean. 

Often I play. And always there is so much serendipity involved in the seeing and shooting of a photograph.

The image above presented itself one day last week when I stepped out our door and noticed pretty light on the Japanese anemones that grow in front of our house, and on the string of prayer flags that hang nearby.  I used my phone camera for the image.

Then, last Saturday some friends and I headed to the North Cascades to do a hike, except that we never made it to the trail because our van broke down in the town of Mazama in the Methow Valley, about three hours from home. We had to call a tow truck to transport the van and we four hikers back to Seattle.

The picture below was shot out the tow truck window during the (expensive) trip home, and it is a testament to the beauty of the North Cascades that such an image can be shot at 55 miles per hour, through a dirty window, on a day that did not even remotely go as planned.