Each image from this fine-art series I produced in Tibet has an association with a line or poem in the journal my late grandfather kept during his own travels in Tibet.

My grandfather passed away in 2016. He was a poet and a literature teacher long fascinated by Tibetan Buddhism. When he was in his 40s, he suddenly left his family, went to Tibet, and spent several years traveling as a pilgrim. I was close to him when I was a small child. But after my parents and I moved to a city, I had contact with him only on holidays. When I tried to collect fragments of clues as to what he was like; there were nothing but scraps, assorted bits and pieces. I took his presence for granted for as long as he was alive, and when he died, the first shocking realization was that I have to find a way to keep him alive, in my heart, to honor his memory.

After he died, I returned to his home for the funeral and found a booklet of his poems and observations he made of people and places he had seen in Tibet. In April 2017, I went to Tibet and explored places emerged in his writing, places where isolation, a dearth of resources, and romantic myths neatly overlapped. When I saw a scene that reminded me of my grandfather’s writings, I tried to take a photograph, in an attempt to translate his poems to visual forms. I have a sense that was the first time I met my grandfather. Of course it did not happen that way, but thinking like that makes me smile.

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