Image Selection XII – Losel Doll Museum

Lost in a realm of gold, flowers and brocade – imagine you come a long way to see an image you consider to be a treasure on earth and enter into one of those temples. Opulent and beautiful or sometimes bright and kitschy, the images stand as a testament to the religious imagination of the people and for a religion that ultimately discards sensual reality while celebrating its irreality. | In einem buddhistischen Tempel fühlt man sich manchmal verloren in einem Reich von Gold, Blüten und Brokat – aber man stelle sich vor, man kommtnach langer, entbehrungsreicher Pilgerreise an so einen Ort…wirkt er dann nicht wirklich wie ein Schatz auf Erden. Opulent und schön, manchmal auch grell und kitschig – diese Bilder und Skulpturen sind Testament der religiösen Vorstellungskraft der Menschen, die sie geschaffen haben, und stehen für eine Religion, die zwar schlussendlich der sinnlichen Realität entsagt, ihre Irrealität aber dennoch feiert.

The Losel Doll Museum is home to multiple dioramas detailing the history of pre-invasion Tibet. It’s the only place where you can find such scenes, real or unreal. The multiplied monk is  numerous in his dreams and imaginations, but very solitary in reality.

Group scenes show opulently dressed women and finely garbed monks in marketplace scenes, evoking a strange medieval-religious atmosphere that is only eighty years in the past.

One feels strangely transported and affected by those little guys and dolls – it’s easy to imagine that they come alive at night and play out scenes from Tibet’s timeless past…

Visual Literacy – Advertisement or Visual Poem?

If you want to be a good photographer, you have to be visually intelligent and literate. What a writer does with words, juggling and dancing with them, subduing them, making them do things that they ordinarily do not, that you have to do with images.

But what does it mean to be visually literate? It means to be able to read an image; to understand that in a good image things might be coincidental but never meaningless; to be able to gather information from clues, hints, gestures – in short from all wordless things.

An image may tell you a story and in fact a simple hint for beginners is to make sure that there is a thread, a story, a visual movement in any image that you take. Imagine your subjects as actors of some sort of self-chosen and spontaneous drama. The image becomes a representation, something removed from the actual subject.

This may sound awfully philosophical, but it is true and very unwieldy. To see a picture of your dog on a cell-phone is not seeing your dog, even if the instinctive reaction inside yourself tells you different. It represents your dog, either in an act, or in a state. You have chosen to depict that moment because you want to achieve some purpose with it – the image is, for example, a squeal of remembered delight or a bittersweet reminder of your pet. This is very different from your actual dog who may be – in the very moment that you look at the image – looking entirely different in reality than on your image.

We are inundated with images, flooded with them, yet the fewest of us are actually visually literate and able to differentiate between them. Differentiation means a clear awareness of the intent and the information conveyed by an image, the active, conscious part as well as the subconscious part. Visual literacy means not only a quick ability to separate advertisement from information – a necessity in an age that gave birth to something as insidious as infotainment – but to be able to access the deeper layers of information contained within an image.

Look at a couple of portraits of people and attempt to describe their state. Can you do it in a word and is it utterly clear what their expression conveys? In that case it’s a bad image or an advertisement. Human expression is varied and always contains more than one emotion at a time. A clear expression might be good for propaganda, journalism and advertisement, but when it comes to actually depicting a human being, complexity is necessary. Apparently simple expressions like wonder, joy and frustration – how often do they appear clearly on a person’s face? Is it not more usual to see them mingled with other expressions?

Think about watching an actor or an actress that you admire. Are those the people that clearly and unmistakably show one emotion on their faces or is it people who stimulate discussion and wonder because the expression is multi-facetted and unclear? Because it needs more than one word to describe it?

Come away from thinking that every images needs to be entirely clear in composition or meaning. Juxtaposing different meaning, misleading the viewer, offering them to make their own interpretations…those hold much more fascination than a clear, easily readable image. It’s the difference between reading an instruction manual and a poem. Sure it’s nice to know exactly what’s going on, but wouldn’t you rather engage your imagination?

10,000 Steps to Salvation – Up Girnar Hill

I met Ritu and his friends while climbing Girnar Hill, the Hill of 10,000 Steps, in Gujarat. Girnar Hill is a famous pilgrimage site. It is about 1110 meters high and topped by  a number of temples, with a Jain temple situated a little bit lower, at about 7000 steps. There is something bombastic and challenging about Girnar Hill. 10,000 steps? Who wants to climb 10,000 steps and back in one day?
Well, I do, so just before dawn a riksha takes me to the bottom of the steps. It is chilly, but low temperatures are a blessing on such a trip. The driver is swaddled in a rag to keep him warm. His teeth clatter. So do mine. I start thinking of my own people, of the reasons Austrians or Europeans might have to climb such a hill. Being devoid of most religious sentiment, we can only start by seeing it as a sport-like challenge…but for me there is something else as well. I have been dreaming about the place, long dreams about climbing endless stairs and the stairs have begun to show up in the drawings I do daily. For me there is something mystic about it and I begin to think about how the Indians approach such a climb. I cannot number one god for every step that I take, I even have troubles with the basic concept of divinity and here I am in a world that is steeped in it. I smile patronizingly about the various Western “truth-seekers” that I meet from time to time and who come here for markedly “spiritual” trips (often translating as “ganja whenever you want it and no authorities” )…but the idea of spirituality is unmistakable. Has it snuck up on me? No, it can’t…it is here all the time. Sneaking is something decidedly un-Indian. It would ring a loud bell or shout at me. I’m about to climb a holy mountain and while the mountain may come to Mohammed, I’m sure it makes a whole lot of noise while it does. So I am safe from sneakers. But what about the obvious?
I realize that the very idea of a holy mountain is staggering to me, defies to be grasped by any sort of rationality. I do what everyone here seems to do when confronted by sheer irrationality: I shrug, chose a god to say some prayer to (Odin, who I have always liked – after all he’s the god of travelers) and race in headlong.

The mundane and the divine go hand in hand – look, the steps up the hill are lined with shops! It’s early so not all of them are opened yet. Those that are hold lonely figures swathed and swaddled in layers of clothing and the shops themselves are lit by a few candles. They sell Prasad, offerings to the gods; brightly coloured flowers, coloured powders, little tasteless rice puffs and pin-point heads coated with gold, silver or sugar, fragrant garlands in orange and yellow that one can hang around the necks of statues. They also sell more prosaic stuff – water bottles, chocolate, namkeen (tasty snacks). Other shops are still dark, the counters turned into makeshift beds where the proprietors sleep like corpses, clothed in white linen. Later, as I climb higher, it becomes clear to me that many of the shopkeeper live in their little shops…they sleep in there and, given the number of steps they have to climb up and down, they probably leave them only when necessary. It is certainly not the worst kind of life – shopkeeper on a sacred hill – but how do they live there? What about their families? (some shops are run by a number of people, women and children included) Who carries their goods up the hill?

I didn’t pause to find answers to those questions because climbing up steps is a consuming task. After a while one falls into a rhythm and that rhythm can be improved all the time. Watch out that you take one step with the left leg and the next one with the right or your knees will start to hurt. If you can take a stair in one step, perfect, otherwise you have to devise a pattern to put equal weight on both knees. The mind is engaged, one tries to keep oneself motivated, begins to trick oneself by saying “Look, a hundred more steps, then I’ll take a break…hundred more steps…ten more steps…one more step…oh, you know, let’s make it another hundred” and so on.

I cannot pause long enough to admire the landscape for fear of taking too long a pause, but the higher I climb the more breathtaking it becomes. I slowly clear the smaller overgrown hills and can see the sprawling villages surrounding them. There are other, smaller hills, topped by other, smaller temples (“Hills of 3,000 steps, hills of 5,000” steps says a small, exhausted and sarcastic voice inside my head). I am ambitious when it comes to climbing hills and mountains, so the people I started out with are soon left behind.

Before my climb I found out that you can actually climb Girnar without ever setting foot on one step. You can hire porters who will put you on a little wooden seat tied to a long pole and on this seat they will carry you up and down without ever complaining. You pay accordingly to your weight and so you will be weighed publicly and, I imagine, ceremonially before your trip. I was hoping that I would see some people being carried, but the carriers start their work later in the day, so I have to wait until I climb down again.

Later, higher up, a group of young men catches up with me. I don’t want to talk. I want to climb. But they are chatty and so I answer their questions evasively at first. But they are persistent. One has a piece of lemon that he sucks of when he feels exhausted. He is small and slender with a fine and noble face. A good-looking and charismatic man, a little younger than me. He smiles easily and acts assured. This is Ritu. Ritu is the leader of the group. They number about ten, all of them boys around twenty. Most of them are engineering students in nearby Allahabad. Only of them has chosen a different field of study. He’s going to be an Ayurvedic doctor and he has to endure some gentle ribbing from his engineer friends. They take turn asking me questions, but there is respect and restraint about their questions. Soon I find myself caught up in their interest, their manner of talking, their quick and friendly spirits. They are from Junagadh, where my guest house is. They have lived in the area since they were boys and they quickly offer to show me around. They point out, while we are walking, all the different things that we can see. Sasan Gir. Have I seen Sasan Gir? There are lions in Sasan Gir! Have I seen wild animals? Have I been to the forest? Will I visit them at their houses?

They are exuberant and curious. After a while it is very good to have someone to talk to and to point out things to me. We exchange compliments and observations, goad each other on when we get tired, pass the first temple, the Jain temple (“7,000 steps”, we sigh) and finally reach the top of the hill…

Having reached the top the first thing I felt was how strangely energized I was by the walk up the steps. I couldn’t have stopped and stood still even if I wanted it. On the top, I saw now, there was not a single and huge temple complex like the Jain temple, situated a little lower, which we had passed a while ago. There were small temples, almost like huts, some on rocky spires that stood against the clouds and made them seem like miraculous castles out of some deeply strange and affecting fantasy.

One thing, something that I had never seen before, was the way the sun, which had risen while I was climbing the stairs, illuminated the clouds around the hill. For some atmospheric reason it looked like a halo of light surrounding the entire hill. The lower parts of the clouds were dark, but the upper parts where they slowly vanished to show a light blue sky were brightly lit. Halos of light? Temples on top of rocky spires? I was pulled ahead by my wish to explore more of this miraculous place.

The first temple I passed was a temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god. There were a few pilgrims sitting around the temple – in fact there was a surprising number of people, men, women and even children, already at the top which made me think that they must have climbed up her during the night. If a place is called holy, it is never left alone.

I met two elderly men who greeted me with surprising friendliness and patted me on the back and one of them showed me his rosary which held attached to it an image of Osho, one rather controversial spiritual master who had founded the Pune commune and who held the belief that sex is the best way to spiritual development and enlightenment. We said goodbye and I moved on. There were more steps, but now they led down. I felt truly removed from everything else, as if by climbing these steps I had found some lost magical kingdom and now I could wander around here for as long as I pleased. Ritu and his friends were next to me one moment, gone the next. We chatted freely and joyfully.

I noticed stones painted in bright acrylic orange with two little stones painted like eyes glued to them. They were everywhere. They represent Ganesh, the elephant headed god, as I found out later. Little representations meant to remind you that the divine is watching from every place.

I climbed up to the temple that I had seen first, the one I had seen outlined against the clouds. It was a small temple, the highest point of Girnar hill and when I stood before its open doors I could see in every direction of the compass. Rivers, forested hills, villages. Everything lay spread out before my eyes.

Soon I was driven inside the temple by the throng of people pressing up to it. There were three priests inside the temple. One sat next to a divine image observing the worshippers. I had no idea what to do so I studied the people who sat down in front of the image before me. This gave me very few clues since most of them simply sat in front of it and then supplicated themselves to the image. Then they moved off, moved around clockwise in the temple room and then, upon leaving it, they rang a bell. When my turn came I sat down in front of the image and got up again. The priest called me back. “You didn’t do it right,” he told me in English. “Sit down and relax.” I crossed my legs, breathed a few times. “And now you bow down.” I did, touching the cool stone with my forehead. He seemed satisfied, so I put a few rupees next to the image as a ritual gift and moved off. I reached the bell and another priest who was sitting right underneath the bell, an expression of absolute bliss on his face. I was puzzled for a moment, apparently long enough for the first priest to turn and tell me, “You ring it, as loud as you can.” I nodded and rang the bell, moved outside of the temple, slightly stunned and dazed.

The cool air outside refreshed me and I climbed down again, made my way back to the temple of Hanuman where I hoped to meet Ritu and the others again. On the way I met some men from Rajasthan, a desert region, who invited me to sit down with them and share a bit of their food. They gave me cooked flour mixed with spices. We couldn’t communicate much but the mood was very friendly. They asked where I was from. There was a graffiti right next to us, on one of the rock faces. It said “Austrian-Indian Mountain Climber’s Association” in Hindi and English. I pointed at it and said, “From there, from Austria.”

Later I found Ritu again and he showed me something next to the Hanuman temple. There was a formation of rocks and if you climbed through it, you were said to be allowed to make a wish. We went down on our bellies and slid through a narrow mouth made of rocks and entered something like a little cave. We had disturbed two young boys who had sat there and who looked at me with wide and surprised eyes. We climbed out through an exit on the other side and Ritu invited me to come and eat with him and his friends. He had seen that I had not brought anything to eat with me so I had to share with them.

We sat down on a ledge behind the Hanuman temple and had chapattis, some pickled spicy vegetables and even some sort of dessert, which I couldn’t identify. It tasted wonderful. Monkeys had gathered to watch us, hoping to snatch some of the leftovers, but there weren’t any. Afterwards we sat in the sun, enjoying the day, enjoying the sunlight and watching the faraway and blurred world below.

Hidden Babies and Ineffectual Gifts – An Encounter in Howrah

I was at Howrah, the main railway station of Kolkata or Calcutta as the city was known four years ago, before it was renamed in an effort to turn the name into something a little closer to its pre-colonial and traditional form. I was at Howrah and I was watching a couple of sinewy workers load big chicken baskets onto a carriage, waiting for the train that would take me up North, to Siliguri, where I would get a jeep to Darjeeling, my actual destination. The names of towns and of cities which – to a foreigner or “non-traveler” – mean nothing more than dots on a map or unorthodox piles of letters become very important in the view of the traveler. They become a kind of temporary identity. “Where are you going?” is what travelers ask each other. “Oh, from Delhi to Jaipur” or “I’m making my way to Kathmandu” and so on are the answers and while they may seem boasting or strange or fascinating to anybody sitting at home, for the traveler such answers are a kind of temporary home and give them some shaky sense of comfort.
I had with me three apples, which I had bought the night before, a bottle of badly tasting clean water (water from the tap is undrinkable in India) and a bar of chocolate – some overly sweet British manufacture containing bits of nut and raisins – and my backpack.

They appeared suddenly. Two brown skinned girls with matted hair, who somehow seemed like ghosts formed by the streets, because they had about themselves something grey and dusty. It covered everything – their faces, their hands, their clothes – everything except for their eyes for one looked at me with lively eyes and in the eyes of the other I saw nothing but tiredness, resignation and apathy. Two beggar girls.

The two weren’t old enough to be aware of themselves as beggars, so they behaved very naturally around me, without any sign of neediness of deference. The girl with the lively eyes exuded energy and curiosity, the girl with the apathetic eyes didn’t even look at me properly. She held a bundle of sorts in her hands and she seemed tired, so tired that she could hardly stand upright, but sat down next to me and stared straight ahead into some private emptiness where none could follow her.

The other girl grabbed hold of my sleeve and of my fingers and started to chatter happily. She didn’t beg. We started the exploratory kind of talk that happens between two people who speak and understand little of each others languages. Among other things I pointed out the scores of beaks that poked from the woven chicken baskets next to us, but she was more interested in my hands, so I started a game of “dancing hands” with her, making my fingers slip and fly from her grasp and dance in front of her eyes. This made her laugh and with an unsurprising lack of distance she started grabbing my arms. I know I asked her for her name, but now I am a little torn because I have forgotten her name and I do not want to invent a name for her – it would turn her into too much of a fiction.

I held out one of the apples for her to take and was surprised. She didn’t want it. I had thought, arrogantly, that she was begging from me but she wasn’t, not at all and the arms crossed in front of her chest made this more than clear. In the end it was me who had to beg her to take the apple and to take another one for the apathetic girl who I thought to be her sister. The lively girl had to hold the apple right under her sister’s nose and hold it there for a while until the girl reacted. She didn’t react too pleased, either. She sniffed disapprovingly and waved her sister’s hand away. She didn’t want to be disturbed. She held on to her bundle tightly and lay down on the floor, resting her head on my knee. Where her head touched me I imagined that I could feel all the cold and all the tiredness that was inside of her small body. I could feel just how cold she was, just how weak and how much she needed the rest. For a moment I began to wonder how it could be that one girl was so weak and the other so energetic and I thought, strangely, that the lively girl was somehow taking all the strength from her sister. This filled me with a small, irrational anger for her.

Accordingly, the lively girl reacted angrily, put down the apple and cursed her supposed sister and then turned back to me, smiling. She inspected her own apple carefully, found a spot where the apple was spoiled and said, “Uncle, uncle, look.” and pointed it out to me. I said something apologetic and she shrugged her shoulders, bit the spoiled spot out of the apple and spat it on the railway tracks. I tried to get the other girl to eat her apple, but she kept waving my hand away. Her movements caused the cloth that was wrapped around her bundle to slip and suddenly I saw that she held a little brown-greyish baby in her hands. I looked at the baby for a moment, searching for signs of life in its immobile face, uncertain what to feel.

Only then, as if the discovery of the baby was necessary to wake her from her slumber, the apathetic girl came alive. She sat up and moaned for a while until her sister, unwillingly, took the baby-bundle. She started to eat her apple and I began to feel quite glad…glad that she was cautiously enjoying her apple, glad also that the baby they had was alive.

I hear a voice over the loudspeaker calling out my train. It would leave in ten minutes. I realized I had to leave the girls. Looking through my pockets I found that I only had twenty rupees left.

The lively girl had returned the baby to her sister, who held on to it in a way that made it impossible for me to say what she thought. Was this her little brother or sister? Was it her own child? (Couldn’t be – she wasn’t older than ten…those were children who had been sent to beg or who came here because they knew they sometimes got something to eat here.) Did she try to give warmth to the child or did she hold onto it because the child warmed her?

I let the thought go and gave the lively girl the money – I had two notes and I pointed at her and then at her sister. For both of you. She grabbed both and turned stubborn so for a few moments we had a little quarrel.  While quarrelling I realized that it wasn’t about the money for her (maybe that is obvious, but India and money are an easy cause for paranoia among visitors to this country) but that it was about dominance. She was the older, she was the stronger. She would never give something willingly to her sister who was weak. But I, stranger or not, was still a grown up and in the end she gave in, crumpled up the note and threw it at her sister (by then I was pretty sure that they were indeed sisters). I had nothing else to give to the girls and only the fact that my train was leaving in ten, no, five minutes, kept me from feeling more guilt and responsibility than I did.

I took my bags, said my goodbye to the weak girl, trying to put as much, sadly ineffectual, kindness into it as I could and went to the train. Her sister came along. She hopped and danced around me, displayed once more all the life and strength that her sister lacked, and asked me to buy her something from one of the stands. She felt so much like a child that I had adopted for a couple of minutes and not longer. I told her, with some leftover anger at the way she treated her sister, that she had all my money and that she could buy something for herself. When I was about to enter the train (and the train, with all its controllers and wardens is taboo for beggars and street kids, unless they are selling something), her quick eyes spotted the chocolate in my bag. I broke it in half, asked her to give something to her sister, said goodbye and stepped on the train.

Impressions from Delhi

This is a older post, written while I was in Delhi last year. I hope it captures the immediacy of the city a bit better than my historical musings and I also hope to have more time to write actual new material soon. Nonetheless: enjoy, immaterial readers.
  When looked at through the lens of history, Delhi proves to be one of the most fascinating places you could hope for. A city of ruins where you can find something unexpected that will propel you back sixty, two hundred or several thousand years at street corners. But it is also a place that devours the present, digesting it into history, at a monstrous, tropical pace. Only seventy years ago what is now Old Delhi, the Walled City, the location of the Lal Qila, the Red Fort that still draws thousands of visitors, was a place of havelis, large and pleasant villa-style homes with verandahs and courtyards, fountains and peacocks. The ruined tombs of Mughal emperors in the Lodi Gardens sketch out sumptuous courtly dreams of pearls, soft silks and palaces. The gigantic imperialistic government buildings of the Raj era, the British colonial times, are still in use – a deeply impressive fusion of Asian and European styles of architecture, softly differing shades of red marble, large enough to dwarf and awe any crowd – but keeping the tombs and vanished palaces in mind one cannot help but wonder how long it takes for weeds and cracks and shantytowns to appear on the open fields around Rajpath.Delhi of today is, as it must have been during almost any time of its existence, an uneasy mixture. Beyond the historical awe, day to day living in this city can be an unbearable grind. The press of people, the never-ending crowds often makes me wish for a bit of empty space. In Majnu ka Tilla, a small Tibetan colony at the outskirts of Delhi where I stay in a decent hotel room, this wish is partly fulfilled. Whenever the crowds and the dust and the endlessness of Delhi becomes too much to bear, I can sit on a small balcony and watch the banks of the Yamuna river. A few hundred meters behind me is a dusty highway and a district of small, crowded huts, but in front of me are green riverbanks. There are about twelve small huts along both riverbanks and I can watch families of farmers dividing the banks into neat rows, growing vegetables. It is a calming scene, especially when one is convinced that India is nothing else but an endless city and a ceaseless stream of people. But the idyll is short lived – when the Monsoon comes in three months the Yamuna will rise and swallow the huts and the vegetable patches. The farmers will move away, perhaps huddling together on the streets, to wait for the rains to pass.
  I was visiting Nizamuddin, a small Muslim village within the city of Delhi. I wanted to see the famous Sufi shrine that is at the center of it. Earlier that day I had met Gonzalo, a young Brazilian who had been touring Europe and North Africa before coming to India just the day before, and we had hired a rikshaw together to safe some money (since we had come across a savy Sikh driver it took a lot of haggling and I still felt it turned out too expensive and wasn’t too pleasurable at all). In the beginning the streets were oppressive but manageable. A steady stream of people and cars, motorcycles and obstacles, much as I am used to by now. Then the streets became narrow and started turning and twisting. A walk through any part of an Indian town can yield disconcerting, surreal or plainly funny scenes that vanish as fast as they appear – this time it was a door frame painted with advertisements for a travel office, bus tickets etc. Looking through the door all I saw were light brown meat carcasses. An abattoir. A strange sight, since I hadn’t seen any Hindu meat vendors before, but of course those were Muslims and the business of slaughtering animals (pigs excepted) has always lain in the hand of Muslims. Further into the labyrinth of Nizamuddin, there was an opening to what vaguely reminded me of a Moroccan soukh, a roofed alleyway filled with stalls. We tried entering it but soon the crowds, the endless stream of people, the incessant voices, many calling to us to buy something or offering to store our shoes, holding bright pink flowers into our faces, to buy them as offerings, became a scene of nightmarish claustrophobia. It felt as if it was impossible to escape from this village. That the passage would close behind us or that maybe the people would become more and more until it would be impossible to move on. People lose character and individuality in such a scene – it becomes impossible to process all the information one receives. I felt that without a local guide, who could help us make sense of what we saw there, we would be hopelessly lost. I suppose it is a bit like an attack of agoraphobia (which, literally, means a fear of cities), but at some moments the crowds drive me right to the edge of it.

Mr. Singh, our agreeable but slightly greedy driver, also took us to Gandhi Smriti, the house where Mohandas Gandhi had lived. It is now a museum erected to his memory and I found it to be disconcertingly sycophantic. There were a few interesting photographs by Cartier-Bresson and others taken from various newspapers, but the essential information about Gandhi’s life was simplified and repeated until I felt it had no impact at all and served only to reduce the memory of the man who, apparently, stood for great simplicity. His belongings (glasses, a spoon, a pocket watch – although I strongly suspect that Gandhi’s real pocket watch did not have a fake dial dramatically stopped at the moment of his death like the one enshrined) were enshrined in a glass case, endless rows of charts described the same things over and over again and Gandhi’s rooms at the time of his death were re-organized “just in the state that they had been in” (apparently Gandhi liked stagey sterility a great deal). A tangential multimedia exhibition on the first floor provided sensual overload. Unsurprisingly, it is a place of worship more than a historical museum – as the faultless Mahatma, Gandhi has ascended into the thronged Indian pantheon and all traces of his real persona are absent, lost in the eager and decorative arrangement of his life and acts. The visitors were a few Westerners scattered mostly amidst groups from rural Gujarat (Gandhi’s birthplace is in Gujarat) and Rajasthan and the staff was mostly listless, rattling of memorized speeches that left me as bored and glassy-eyed as they must feel giving them all day.

The Lodi Gardens, on the other hand, are pleasant. The location of three sandstone tombs from the sixteenth century, filled with Indians who are out to relax a bit or to sleep and rest in the shadows of the old tombs.

Image Selection XI – From the Himalayas

A bone-white sheet of cloud draws slow dreams across the darkening sky.

A hole in the clouds is relief, even though at times one feels as if the eye was staring straight into the darkness of space.

Like settlers on a distant star…

Snowfall means the world is gone. The clouds are threatening. One might wander into them and never return.

Copyright by Sebastian Buchner.