[ EPF 2014 SHORTLIST ]
When I fleetingly saw a picture of the Larung Gar monastery, I felt compelled to know more about the place. It quickly became a place I yearned to go to, especially because I felt a connection to them. After all, my homeland Korea had been under Japan?s rule before. Further research told me that the place was still being observed by the Chinese government, and that I might not be able to get into the monastery even if I went to Tibet. However, I had to go there to see the lives of these people, no matter what.
Living at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the people of the Larung Gar buddhist monastery of Tibet Autonomous ( Sertha , Kham , China) have a simple way of living. Religion is the center of their lives, and monks and nuns devote 15 years entirely into their religious education. As much as religion is important to Tibetans, this monastery up in the clouds is considered sacred. However, though it is religious, it is turning into a secretive, political symbol because of the dispute between China and Tibet. 13,000 feet above, here is truly a place that demonstrates the devotion and determination of the Tibetans.
I have never received an education about photography, nor have I worked at a photography-related job. As I majored in statistics, worked with cloth, and worked as a chef at a cake company, I could not let go of my passion for photography. I decided that I would live the life of a professional photographer while I was in India (April 2013), taking pictures, and started living my dream once I moved into the US (July 2013). For my first project, I visited Tibet.