I aspire to use photography as a source of hope, which restores confidence in human nature
and revives our wonder at the splendours of nature. Images of violence and suffering are
necessary to awaken consciences and inspire our determination to intervene and assist; we
should never lose sight of the potential of inner beauty that is present in each one of us. As for
me, I would like to show the reality of good, the fact that most of the time, most of the seven
billion human beings behave decently towards one another.
Your inspiration ?
I’ve much studied and admired the work of the great photographers of the past, Ansel Adams,
Ernst Haas (his masterpiece The Creation in particular), Galen Rowell, and many others. I
also greatly admire the artworks of the great German painter Caspar David Friedrich of the
early nineteenth-century, who seems to me to be a precursor of landscape photography. On a
personal level, I was very close to Henri Cartier-Bresson, but there is no way I would have the
pretention to compare my work to his, all the more so in that I took a very different approach. I
also maintain very amicable relations with Jim Brandenburg, Vincent Munier, and Yann Arthus
Bertrand. Also, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some other great photographers over the
What is unique in your photographs ?
An “expectation without expectation”. Always staying available, contemplating everything that
presents itself with a fresh and attentive eye. And then a magic moment occurs and, as Henri
Cartier-Bresson used to say, “The photos take me and not the other way round.”
Any anecdote for us ?
Sometimes, there are images that I seek far away. When I was 16, I saw an emblematic photo
of Ansel Adams: a lake with rocks in the foreground, taken with a view camera, with great
depth of field and a mountainous backdrop. In Bhutan, forty years later, having seen a photo
of the Tsophu Lakes, I walked for four days in the mountains to find a similar scene, with a
7,000-metre high mountain in the background. The next morning at dawn, the lake was like a
mirror and I took a photograph similar to that of Ansel Adams, in tribute to this great
photographer. It was well worth four days hiking!
The picture you would have loved to shoot ?
One day, in Kolkata, India, I saw a man go past who was pulling a wagon with some difficulty,
with the horse following it attached by a rope. I still have this image in mind, but not on film. It
was in 1968 and I didn’t have my camera near to hand.
Your motto ?
Transforming oneself so as to better transform the world.
The latest prizes / awards / prides you got ?
My finest reward is being close to my spiritual masters or in the tranquillity
of my hermitage opposite the Himalayas.
Your next projects ?
Remaining in awe of human nature and the world’s wilderness and capturing beauty
when it arises.
Any crush on a YK picture ?
The images of Alexandre Deschaumes, a young photographer I met
at the International Wildlife and Nature Photo Festival held in Montier-en-Der.