Presenting tibet

By Mao Xi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-03-13 08:55:02

Presenting tibet

Photographer Zheng Yi and his works on Tibetan religious beliefs, rituals and folk customs. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A photographer has become ambassador for remote region. Mao Xi reports.

Chinese photographer Zeng Yi, who counts telling images of Tibetan life among his body of work, says his first encounter with the Tibetan people was not very pleasant.

Zeng says a Tibetan lama was annoyed that he took several photos of a temple without his permission. But that did not stop him from delving deeply into the region and its culture.

Zeng, who is also a director of documentary films, is based in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China, which is a doorway to the Tibet autonomous region.

Zeng first got involved with the region through a nonprofit project, helping Tibetan schoolchildren in remote areas.

After a few culture shocks and adaptations, he has made friends with Tibetans from all walks of life. A member of China's majority Han ethnicity, Zeng has become something of an ambassador for Tibetan culture. He now visits the region at least three times a year.

The visits can be challenging. His Tibetan friends had to carry him when they climbed the 4,700-meter Mount Kailash, where, according to legend, the destroyer of ignorance and illusions resides.

Temperatures can be extremely low in some areas. Zeng says. He sometimes cannot feel his fingers when it drops to - 30 C.

Other difficulties are language, lack of transport to remote areas and long years of waiting for significant events such as Tibetan weddings or ceremonies of reincarnation of the living Buddha.

Zeng says he regards himself as a humanist rather than a photographer. The camera lens is merely a tool that helps him capture the world, including cultural patterns, folkways, religious beliefs and the challenges all civilizations encounter while trying to pass on cultural treasures to future generations.

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