THE LEICA CAMERA BLOG: An Interview With Nicholas Vreeland

The Nechung Medium and Dog, Dharamsala, India, 1979
Photograph (c) Nicholas Vreeland

Q: The Oskar Barnack Room contains five very large color portraits from the 1970’s that you shot with a 5×7 camera. Can you tell us something about your experience with the large format?

A: I went to India with an old wooden 5×7 view camera and a lot of sheets of black and white film. A friend insisted that I take along some color sheets as well. At each sitting, I’d expose a sheet or two of color and the color turned out to be magnificent. Shooting in large format established a very different rapport between my subjects and myself. I was photographing some of the greatest living Tibetan Buddhist masters. The slow formal quality of the view camera process helped me to photograph them respectfully.– from the LEICA CAMERA BLOG Interview

Nicholas Vreeland and Elizabeth Avedon, Bodh Gaya, India, 1985
Photograph (c) All Rights Reserved

"In terms of my work as a monk-photographer, I feel that I’m photographing the extraordinary world in which I live, whether I’m in New York City, in my teacher’s home in New Jersey, my monastery India or in Tibet." – from the LEICA CAMERA BLOG Interview

Vreeland on the way to his Leica Gallery exhibition, NYC, 2011.
Photograph (c) Elizabeth Paul

Self Portrait, Rato Monastery, India
Photograph (c) Nicholas Vreeland

Q: ...your images transcend those of a typical travel photographer: they have a dimension, a spiritual dimension, and a sense of congruity because they represent the two parts of your life that are tied together?

A: They are two sides of my life that have begun to be brought into harmony with each other. Many years ago, I didn’t feel they were congruent. In fact, initially I didn’t even have a camera in the monastery. And when I was given one, I kept it locked in “Pandora’s box."– from the LEICA CAMERA BLOG Interview

Nicholas Vreeland Interview
"Capturing Photographs to Honor and Preserve His World"

More about Vreeland's exhibition Return to the Roof of the World
La Lettre de la Photographie


Caio Fern said...

no no no... I almost felt when I saw that.
An authentic Medium with a Lhasa Apso ?!!!!!! Did Vreeland take a portrait of me on my last reincarnation ? I pretty much think so. When I was wise and polite and absolut not self-centred. Good times.
I called all my Lhasas to see their origins... but they didn't care ! This one of the photo is identical my Flufolino !!! the one that barks more.

...and a picture with a lady a have the impression I know from somewhere but I don't remember very well.

Ok, Nicholas Vreeland is pretty cool too, and nice link. Thanks for that.

With all the respect : this is the best post ever.

Meera Rao said...

What a delightful post! I just got back from seeing the Mandala (which took the Monks a week to construct) and its dissolution ceremony here at Hampton Virginia so it resonated with me. thanks for the link to the interview - really wonderful!