Not many know the traditions and practices of a Buddhist monastery, but Nicholas Vreeland’s pictures may help change that. The Swiss photographer, also a monk, has lived in and captured scenes from various monasteries, and has even been the official photographer of the Dalai Lama.
“I was in Dharamshala, when I got an opportunity to take a picture of His Holiness,” recalls Vreeland, adding, “They were very impressed by my large wooden camera, and I was asked to accompany him on his first trip to America. This was in the late ’70s.”
He is a frequent visitor to India and believes the country has played an “extraordinary” role in him becoming a Buddhist. About the Dalai Lama, he says, “He’s very down-to-earth. There is nothing materialistic about him. He has studied profoundly and has extraordinary self discipline.”
Vreeland claims that all the pictures, in the show, have been clicked within five metres of each other (at monastries), and being a monk, he was trusted by others and got as close to them as possible.