Friday, June 29, 2007

Gilles Perrin: Tibet

Copyright © Zone Zero/Photography by Gilles Perrin

Gilles Perrin was born in Paris, and has a master in photography. Since 1972 he works as an author-photographer, specializing in large format photography (4x5" and 8x10"), and in panoramic and panoscopic cameras. He also works in commercial photography in the fields of still life, portraits, industrial reportage. He taught photography at Paris VIII University for over 20 years.

Gilles traveled to Tibet in 2004 and 2006. He tells us that he witnessed the impact of Chinese and western tourism in many ways, particularly with the introduction of the train Beijing-Lhasa, on the Tibetan culture. The Chinese colonization is evident in both cities and countryside, bringing with it the development of increasing transit infrastructure.

The traditional ways of Tibet so cherished in the western psyche will eventually die out. The economic and tourist exploitation of Tibet will obliterate its ancestral cultures, and will impose a new political and cultural order. These social, artistic and religious traditions will degenerate into folkloric shows organized for Chinese and “western foreigners”.

It is for these reasons that Gilles Perrin wanted to record the Tibetans' way of life before it disappeared altogether. For this series, he used a 4”x5” folding camera on a tripod and had his subjects pose for him. All photographs were taken at a low shutter speed (from one second to 1/8 of a second).

A remarkable and a timeless piece of work, the photographs of Tibet are part of an attractive flash-based slideshow produced by the incomparable Zone Zero.

Gilles Perrin's Tibet

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