"Did you get some tea?
Let me get you some tea!"
"Did you get something to eat?
Let me get you some food!"
This is how things have gone now for the eight years that I have been photographing the culture of the Tibetan community in Seattle. People are forever trying to feed me, to be kind.
"Thank you for always being here for us."
It seems like a lifetime ago that I began this project. Young couples in the community have had babies, and elders have passed away. I have gone from being an outsider, a stranger with a camera, to "Kurt la" ("la" in Tibetan culture is a form of address that conveys respect, as in "Tashi la," or "Tsering la.")
But the pictures I make are not about me, and I try to walk the fine line of presence. I can do the best and most honest work when people just ignore me. But the reality of human interaction is that photographic "subjects" feel most comfortable when the "photographer" does not hide his or her human-ness.
When someone offers you tea, you smile and say thank you: too-je-che.
I thought I'd share some recent pictures.