Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion
By Phil Borges with Text by the Dalai Lama

Click on the small photos to see a larger image.

Throughout 1994, photographer Phil Borges traveled through Tibet, as well as parts of Nepal and Northern India, where thousands of Tibetan refugees now reside. He began photographing and interviewing them in an effort to understand what had happened to their country and their culture. He found a deeply spiritual people struggling to survive and maintain compassion in the face of tremendous aggression.

The invasion by the Chinese Communists in 1949 has resulted in the death of 20% of the Tibetan population and the total destruction of all but a handful of their 6000 monasteries. The repression and agression continues to this day.

As the Tibetans work to save their unique culture and to regain their country, their internal struggle as human beings is to try to reconcile their non-violent principles with the rage that can arise when harmed; it is an extreme test of their commitment to compassion, to their religion, and to their culture. Here are a few of these people.

Namgyal and Thuman
Dharamsala, India

Dharamsala, India

Lhasa, Tibet

Changtang, Ladakh

Parka, Tibet

Drigung Valley, Tibet

Botok and Tsangpa
Settlement Camp #1, Ladakh

Pusang and Dundup
Puga Valley, Ludakh

Tenzin Gyatso
Dharamsala, India

Jigme and Sonam
Ladakh, India
Phil Borges
Phil Borges's photographic projects focus on endangered cultures and tribal people around the world. His subjects range from Tibetans marginalized by the Chinese occupation of their homeland, to drought stricken tribes people of East Africa. Phil, a recent chapter president of The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), received the Pacific Northwest Media Inc. Photographer of the Year award in 1992.

Phil's latest project, Tibetan Portrait - The Power of Compassion, has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe. The book of the same name, published by Rizzoli, recently won the Best Mountain Image award at the Banff Book Festival and is currently in its third printing.

Tibetan Portrait can be ordered through Rizzoli, phone (212) 387-3628 or through St. Martins Press (800) 221-7945.

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