591 Exhibition - Razvan Peteanu
The exhibition has ended
A tiny country bordered by Tibet, India and the Himalaya and closed to foreign tourism until the 1960s, Bhutan is often expeditiously clichéd as the last Shangri-La (a fictional place, in fact). Its location certainly makes it worthy of this term, however: the plane flies by Everest's peak and the descent into the green valley of its only airport is one of the most difficult landings, with few pilots certified to perform it.
The few visitors (dozens a day at most) find a country still unspoiled by commercialism (perhaps because TV and Internet access have only been allowed since 1999) and its population genuinely welcoming - if in a shy way - of tourists, despite the lack of modern infrastructure. Bhutan is changing fast now, jumping centuries into the world of cell phones and Internet and watching the transition is fascinating, especially that Bhutan's former king has famously promoted the concept of Gross National Happiness.
To a photographer, Bhutan is very rich in its visual offering - the challenge for visitors coming from cultures where every aspect of life is photographed and shared online is to know when that is appropriate for a very different society. In a way I was lucky, it happened that the group I was in was very small (size: 2, in fact) and this allowed us beyond the gates of several monasteries. Buddhism is a very strong part of Bhutanese culture and it made sense to select images depicting it. Enjoy!
Text and photos © Razvan Peteanu
Razvan Peteanu is a photographer living in Toronto, Canada. In his pictures from Bhutan he finds a way to present the people, their religion and culture that I appreciate. The world is a multitude of people and opinions, Still the world is one...a smile...boys running in the yard, perhaps late for the lecture. Yes, I have enjoyed this show Razvan. Thanks. - Mr Urbano