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2012 Tibet Calendar

Twelve months worth of images from around Tibet

From the November 28th through December 3rd I am offering 5% off of my 2012 Tibet Calendar. Also if you purchase on Cyber Monday, you will get an extra 35% off of any purchases through Lulu.com using the discount code CYBERMONDAY.  These calendars make great gift items for your adventure-loving family member!

Please click here to order!

I’d like to introduce you to our 2012 Tibet calendar.  2011 was a really busy year for me and this calendar contains some of my absolute favorite images this year from around the Tibetan plateau.  I’ve included a few month’s images below.  If you are interested in purchasing one, please click here

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Black & White Friday

Not your typical Black Friday post - a glimpse at what's coming

I sincerely hope all of you had an amazing Thanksgiving.  For those of you participating in Black Friday, good luck and may God have mercy on your soul.  It’s crazy out there!

I was lucky enough to spend the holiday with my folks in the lazy town where I grew up.  It’d been a long time since I’d spent that much time in a southern town, and It was like seeing it all with new eyes.  There is some amazing stuff there of which I’ll be posting about in the coming week(s).

But for now here are a few that I was able to capture before Thanksgiving and I thought I’d aptly title the post “Black & White Friday” in honor of both Black Friday and the Black & White format.

Hope you enjoy!

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3 of 3: Process the New Through the Old

Part three of a three part series on understanding a new culture through our own cultures

This article is a repost of a guest blog I did for Rear Curtain.  Rear Curtain is a great organization run by friends who are seriously passionate about telling stories.  Do yourself a favor and check them out here

This is the final part of a three part series on how we can learn to relate to other cultures as photographers by embracing aspects of our own culture. Many struggle to realize that our own unique cultures are a good tool that can help us communicate and understand cross culturally. There is a correlation between understanding oneís own culture and engaging in a new and different one. Through embracing, valuing, and understanding our culture first, we can recognize and appreciate cultures that are not our own.

PART 3: PROCESS THE NEW THROUGH THE OLD

One thing that I’ve touched on in my previous two posts (Part 1 Part 2) on understanding new cultures through our own, is focusing on commonality in humanity as opposed to our differences. When we dissect culture we discover there are commonalities that exist from culture to culture despite their vast and easily noticeable differences. Even if your home culture looks nothing like that of the culture you are intending to go and photograph, trying to find commonality proves helpful in thinking the right way about culture.

The uniqueness of culture is often wrapped up in the things that all people, despite their location, do – eating, shopping, playing, family life, etc. Before we enter a new culture its a good idea to sit down and analyze these things in our own home culture. Think about what we do daily and why we do it, and what this says about us. This gives us a frame of reference for then viewing a new culture – what’s different about the way we do common things? Why? We are seeking to learn about the new through the lens of what we already know from the old. This is similar to learning a new language. We learn a new language based on the information from the one we already know. This idea gives us some hope for learning a new culture based on our own. We all have culture but are rusty or unfamiliar with how to speak the ‘language’ of culture. The very basics of that ‘cultural language’ is wrapped up in our commonalities.

Listed below are a few cultural commonalities that are healthy for photographers to observer in their own culture before entering a new one.

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2 of 3: Downplaying your own culture

Part two of a three part series on understanding a new culture through our own cultures

This article is a repost of a guest blog I did for Rear Curtain.  Rear Curtain is a great organization run by friends who are seriously passionate about telling stories.  Do yourself a favor and check them out here

This is the second of a three part series on how we can learn to relate to other cultures as photographers by embracing aspects of our own culture. Many struggle to realize that our own unique cultures are a good tool that can help us communicate and understand cross culturally. There is a correlation between understanding one’s own culture and engaging in a new and different one. Through embracing, valuing, and understanding our culture first, we can recognize and appreciate cultures that are not our own.

Bias – The effects of downplaying the uniqueness, richness, & significance of our own culture

Our personal biases are worth understanding when entering, evaluating, and photographing new cultures. One’s bias is tricky to notice because it often masks itself as opinion or preference. As photographic story tellers we must be careful not to be one-sided. To prevent yourself from becoming an insensitive photographer, enter a new culture without partiality.

Many photographers have a bias against their own culture in comparison to the ones they want to photograph. This kind of bias is hard to notice and can be very harmful. Often people try to engage a culture without understanding or even liking their own first. Not only does this reduce our ability to share about our culture (Read: THE TWO SIDES OF EXPERIENCING CULTURE ), but it also contributes to a destructive view of culture in general.

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1 of 3: TWO SIDES OF EXPERIENCING CULTURE

A three part series on how we can better understand new cultures by understanding our own.

This article is a repost of a guest blog I did for Rear Curtain.  Rear Curtain is a great organization run by friends who are seriously passionate about telling stories.  Do yourself a favor and check them out here

This is the first part of a three part series on how we can learn to relate to other cultures as photographers by embracing aspects of our own culture. Many struggle to realize that our own unique cultures are a good tool that can help us communicate and understand cross culturally. There is a correlation between understanding one’s own culture and engaging in a new and different one. Through embracing, valuing, and understanding our culture first, we can recognize and appreciate cultures that are not our own.

One of my favorite things about my job leading tours in western China is that I get to watch people experience new cultures. I find it fascinating how people go about processing cultures, places, foods, and experiences for the first time – both the good and the bad. Looking at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of cultural interaction can give us useful insights on ways to enrich our future photographic cross cultural experiences.

After living and traveling overseas, I’ve distinctly noticed that people, though undeniably unique, share a lot of the same wants, hopes, needs, and desires. These shared aspects sometimes reveal themselves in exotic and different looking ways, but rest assured, we do have something in common.

It’s amazing what we can learn when we focus on the commonality of the human race as opposed to what we more often focus on: the differences. It’s because of these common areas that I believe it’s important to have understanding and respect for our own culture when we enter into a new one.

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