Tibet's Lost Children And Dreams In Spectacular Shangri-La

 Beggar Children, Lhasa, Tibet

Here's an image from the archives. I made it in Lhasa during the Tibetan New Year in January 2000.

I found these young beggar children in  a large open market area adjacent to the famous Bhakor Market. It was -10C and I was very happy to help the kids out. But I also wanted to document our meeting by making a photograph.

Weird And Vivid Dreams At High Altitude

The hotel I stayed at the previous night had some kind of weird disco and I remember leaving with the song Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) by Don MacLean on my mind. Dreams tend to be vivid at high altitudes and I dreamed of the sky, which is like a huge fish bowl on the great Tibetan plateau. I also dreamt of my mother, Mary, and of my own childhood at a Catholic primary school.

Exploring My Obsession With Color

Back then I was obsessed with color and wanted to make a beautiful color photo of these kids. I asked their permission, through gestures, and then took them on a short walk (in a busy, public place) until I found the perfect background.

The older child's scarf was beautiful and reminded me, somewhat, of the way Jesus's mother is often portrayed in Christian art. Did I mention my mother's name is Mary?

The kids clothing blended beautifully with the blue metal background and the flecks of yellow paint provided a lovely color contrast. In my mind the background was a kind of starry, starry night.

It's a great memory and this photo remained a favorite of mine for many years. It's a pity I don't have a better scan from the original 35mm Kodak Ektachrome 100 Extra Color transparency from which this image was made.

The motivations underpinning this image were certainly unique. I encourage you to dream and enjoy drawing on your own inspirations, including those from your unconscious mind, to create memorable images.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru