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Bhutan | Travel photographer: Gavin Gough

Bhutan | Travel photographer: Gavin Gough | PHOTOGRAPHERS |

Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, set high in the remote Himalayas, remains a land of mystery and intrigue. Rarely visited by western travellers, Bhutan maintains a society where "gross national happiness" is the measure of success. Each year, festivals (tsechus) steeped in tradition take place in Bhutan's temples where monks wear animal masks and dance, whirling around the temple courtyards in a ritual as old as the surrounding mountains. Bhutan is one of few remaining places on earth where the visitor can truly feel that they have stepped back in time.

Photo report's insight:

Gavin Gough is an independent, freelance editorial and travel photographer. Originally from England, Gavin is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand, from where he travels extensively, working on assignment, on commission, creating stock images, writing and teaching.

Soňa Sklenárová's curator insight, October 6, 2014 8:10 AM

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Bhutan | Photojournalist: Lynsey Addario for National Geographic

Bhutan | Photojournalist: Lynsey Addario for National Geographic | PHOTOGRAPHERS |

Lynsey Addario usually works in countries at war and in conflict. What was it like to cover Bhutan?

"It was much harder than covering a war, actually. I’ve spent the last seven years covering the war in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, and Iraq. I also go to Darfur once a year. This is one of the first long-term assignments in years where no one was trying to kill me. In a war zone there is tension, you’re functioning on adrenaline, on a passion to report what is happening. It was completely different in Bhutan. Bhutan’s whole philosophy is Gross National Happiness. It’s a country that’s very peaceful; the people are very traditional. It’s not like things are unfolding before your eyes every day. My whole drive was dictated by looking for how to convey a culture, looking for light, for beauty."


"The culture is so different from where I usually work. In the Middle East, people call you in for lunch from the street just because you’re a foreigner. Bhutan is not like that. It’s a very closed place, although the people are incredibly hospitable and warm. They wouldn’t invite me in, but I would walk up to the houses, and most people were welcoming—that was never a problem. In one house there were these two little girls—one was maybe ten and the other seven—and their mother was working out in the fields. I walked into the house and said hello, and one of the girls just stared and started crying, because she had never seen a foreigner. She was so confused. I did get to photograph them. I went back the next morning, and the mom was there. I think the dad was out shopping, which takes a few days since the nearest road was about a six-hour walk."


More information :

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Addario's field-notes:

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