Friday, October 12, 2007

Smiling faces

Our great guide KenchoPeople of Bhutan are so wonderful. Charming people, beautiful faces, colorful clothing. And yes, they still wear their traditional robes every day : gho for men, kira for women, and it is not for the tourists! It made for the most wonderful photography experience I ever had. I would go back to Bhutan anytime, to have more time to wander around, sit down, watch people and take these fascinating portraits. I always feel shy about taking photos of people, feeling like I am steeling something from them, even though there is something delightful about a nice photo of an interesting person. In some countries, like in China where we are, people will run from the camera, or, if they are poor, they will try to get money from you for the permission of taking a photo. In Bhutan, people were so different. They were so friendly. They were smiling at the camera, the monks in the monastery or the people on the street, happy to have their picture taken or sometimes even asking for it. There was this little poor little boy who asked me in English "take a photo" and proudly posed for the camera. There was that young monk who gave me a big smile as I reached the courtyard of a monastery on an early morning drive, up in the hills. There was that school boy (hiding behind the older boy on the photo) who wanted to look at the photo I took on my camera, and soon I had four young kids hanging on me, looking at my monitor. That had to be the most exciting moment of my trip, that special connection of a few minutes with a few charming kids from such a different world. I have many memories in my head and on my camera of all these people. Thank you to all the smiling faces of Bhutan!

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