Cultures in Transition gives viewers the opportunity to broaden their thinking and be transported to a world beyond their own. The lives captured in these images showcase cultural diversity while exploring the aesthetics of disappearance. Each chapter of the exhibition brims with vibrancy telling the same story: The Spirit, Heart, and Soul of us all.
The images were photographed over a fifteen-year span in the countries of Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, and Myanmar. Over this extended period of time, Klink established trust with his subjects enabling him to venture further away from the mainstream tourist locations. He began to focus on the true essence of the people, the subtleties that make their life evolve, accessing what he calls their spiritual guiding light. To quote Klink: “I resisted depicting the typical visual transitions, such as the new electronic devices, the high-rise buildings going up like mushrooms, the freeways built as quickly as sand castles, the modern transportation, the influence of western clothing, the packaged food, and the old villages turned into tourist attractions. Instead, I explored how all these changes impacted the essence of their lives; family, work, and the basic needs for survival that are essential to life.”
The exhibition is about something that it took time to observe, to detect, and to understand. Klink watched people and started to feel their emotions about change, their worries, their acceptance. He witnessed them falling behind, trying to hold on to their comfort zones, their culture, and their spirituality. Everyone that Klink interacted with described transition differently, but one thing that was common was that the typical visual signs of "progress" were the least of their worries. The loss of emotional connection with themselves and their communities was their most significant concern.
Sixty black and white images depict the depth of the Spirit of the Village, the expansiveness of the Heart of the Yi and the dynamism of the Soul of the Bürkitshi. As Geir Jordahl (Publisher, True North Editions) wrote:” The universal human quality is what links together the three chapters of Cultures in Transition. Klink’s images transcend borders without homogenizing very distinct peoples, nationalities, and cultures. The uniqueness of each is present, yet Klink asks us to see the links between them and to see ourselves within each tribe. He connects us through the use of common bonds, gestures, and expressions. In this way the personalities of his subjects shine through – their emotion, their joy, their connections with each other and, by association their connection to the viewer.”
The images are complemented by a book (12” x 13 ¼”, 168 pages, tritone offset printed in Italy, published by True North Editions) and by a set of lectures about the experience. Viewers get a sense of the journey Klink took to photograph these cultures. He reveals behind the scene events, sharing both the joys and losses, and his interaction with their daily routines.
Cultures in Transition transcends geography and culture to share a moment, however
brief, of true connection and how people lived their lives on Spirit, Heart, and Soul.
Oliver Klink - Oliver@oliverklinkphotography.com - +1-408-910-6701
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