Back from the Hermit Kingdom of Ladakh

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Stretching from the Great Himalayas, across sections of the Zanskar, and the Karakoram ranges, Ladakh is a land of extremes. Extremely high peaks, extremely blue sky, extremely stark beauty. It is a land of foreboding landscapes and of an extremely friendly and welcoming people. People who live today as they have for centuries. While change is coming fast and the schools are educating the children in English, Ladakh still maintains a timelessness found only in a few places on the planet still largely inhabited by an indigenous people.

Cut off from the rest of the world by the great Himalayan range, Ladakh, has for centuries been a crossroads for pilgrims and traders. Called by some “The Last Shangri-La” it is a land of monasteries perched on high peaks and ancient fortress palaces built upon steep rocky slopes. Villages are scattered among the valleys between ranges connected only by mountain passes which tower as high as 18,500 feet. Therefore, the name Ladakh, which literally means  “the land of passes.” Buddhism, its traditions, its monasteries, its people, its chortens and its mani walls, dominate the culture and panorama.

I feel like I have come back from another world…

Black and White Spider Awards honors photographer Terri Gold

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LONDON (June 18th, 2012) Professional photographer Terri Gold was awarded 3rd Place – Honor of Distinction in People: Kushti Wrestlers in Delhi and two Honorable Mentions: At the Bathing Ghats and Racing with the Wind by the 7th Annual Black and White Spider Awards at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow. The live online ceremony webcast Saturday, June 9, 2012 was attended by photography fans in 72 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from National Geographic, Fratelli Alinari, Heffel Fine Art to the Tate in London who honored Spider Fellows with 180 coveted title awards and 875 nominees in 14 categories.“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,223 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director.

You can view the 7th Annual Winners Gallery at

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

Adventure is out there…

“Adventure is out there, but it’s also in here.It’s an inner game. What separates adventure from the mundane is an openness to the unexpected and a willingness to embrace it, laugh your way through it when you aren’t gritting your teeth, and learn from it. It’s not a freedom from fear, it’s an unwillingness to let it have even one day of your already beautiful, short, fragile, one-of-a-kind life. It’s being present, 100% in your art, your relationships, the way you raise your children, and the way you open your heart to strangers. You can do that from home and you can do that from the base camp of Everest. It’s a choice, a posture of the mind and heart. It is not the exclusive domain of the privileged, the healthy, or the strong. It is for all of us that, if you’ll pardon the worn cliche, are we are willing to hear the music and have the courage to dance without shame.”

I read this today on David duChemin’s Pixelated Image blog and it resonated with me…Life is the grand adventure and we are all in it together.

I am so thankful for all the people in my life who share their journeys with me and allow me to share mine.

Yushi Festival in Kham

Yushu Festival in Kham

2011 International Photography Awards – Lucie Foundation

2011 International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition

 Some of the top professionals in the business partner with the Lucie Foundation to present the prestigious International Photography Awards, this year I’ve been awarded 7 Honorable Mentions.

Thanks so much to all the judges.

 Honorable Mention in People – Culture category for the winning entry “Still Points In A Turning World-Tribal Villages In Guizhou”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Culture category for the winning entry “Requiem-Buglisi Dance Theatre”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Portrait category for the winning entry “Ben and his Horse”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Culture category for the winning entry “Into the Mist in Guizhou”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Culture category for the winning entry “Sister’s Meal Festival in Guizhou”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Children category for the winning entry “Pheasant Miao boys in Guizhou”

Terri Gold was awarded an Honorable Mention in People – Culture category for the winning entry “Guping Mountain Miao”

A Condition of Empathy

I came across this Ansel Adams quote the other day on a wonderful photography blog by  Nicole Gibson .

“As with all art, the photographer’s objective is not the duplication of visual reality. Photography is an investigation of both the outer and the innerworlds. The first experiences with the camera involve looking at the world beyond the lens. Trusting that the instrument will capture something seen. The terms “shoot” and “take” are not accidental: they represent an attitude of conquest and appropriation. Only when the photographer grows into perception and creative impulse does the term “make” define a condition of empathy between the external and internal events.”

This is on my mind  as I am editing  my new work from China and beginning the process of creating a new body of work.

I had some visual goals in mind, that are always very fluid and evolving. I  was looking to see with feeling . To create work that asks questions as well as answers.

It’s a difficult process. I want to create beautiful work, work that keeps up with my own pace as an artist and craftsman, but I often  worry that I’ve shot my last good
image, that everything from here on out is just derivative and cliché. We all struggle with  doubts. There is a creative arc on a trip –  to the flow of making the work and even to the journey itself.

I remembered to  trust the process (most of the time) –  and just kept going…

The Lush Landscape

The Lush Landscape

Terraced Rice Fields in the Mountains

The Li River

National Costumes

Dong Village Playing Lushen Flutes

Gejias Dancers

Dong Village

Gejia Tribal Women

Pheasant Miao - headresses flying

China is humming
the economy
the people
the land
are all bursting to move forward.

From the villages to the small cites…

I was mainly in the remote areas but know the bigger cities are certainly growing as fast as they can…

I read  this week, the invitations  for the royal wedding, invited guests to come in their national costume.

It struck me
because during the whole trip I was impressed by the incredibly ornate National Costumes worn in SW China and especially in Guizhou.

I was experiencing the effects, the beauty and changing traditions within the tribes – Miao, Dong, Shui, Gejias, and more, through their dress and whether they were still wearing and making by hand their National Costumes which  are so much a part of the fabric of their lives.

This tribal area of China
is unique – with 57 different minorities.
Each one wears a different costume
that is handmade by the women-
either woven, batiked and usually hand embroidered.
Each village chooses different patterns and colors and designs even within the tribal groups. There are White Collar Miao,Long Skirt Miao,Pheasant Miao and so many more…

The older people are still wearing their National Costume every day but the next generation is only wearing the colorful garments and the amazing graceful head dresses for the festivals. The young girls of the next generation do not all want to farm the land and embroider their costumes in the doorways (the interiors do not have enough light). They want a better and different life and want to move towards the more urban areas and work in factories.
I went to one local marketplace where they had some of the beautiful embroidered jackets that were machine made and maybe that is the future.

Traditions and rituals are still points in a turning world, they are our histories, our roots and our connections to the past, and they are our future as well.

I remember reading a line from a Rumi poem once

“we are the still cool water and the jar that pours

always duality

it certainly keeps life interesting…

Global Travel Contest Winner – Planet Magazine

Planet magazine has announced the results  of its Global Travel Contest (General Category), and  I so  was pleased to be  named one of  the winners  with an infra-red image made during my trip to the Tribal areas of Rajasthan & Gujarat , which took place in January 2010.
  My infrared images can be seen on my  website Terri Gold World Imagery.

All Journeys have a Rhythm

100 Bird Miao

China is a wild and complex mixture- in time and placeancient and modern all at once.

There is building and construction everywhere
 from the small tribal villages to the provincial cities and towns we are passing
 There is a hum of activity
 new roads are being built-towering bridges and dams – and homes
 in the villages they are wooden
 all built without nails
 in the cities they are concrete and without much charm.

 Today’s drive was on a bone jarring mud and rock road for hours…

Stopped at two amazing villages
 100 Bird Miao and Shui
 they danced for us and offered food and drink
 then we explored the village.

Now we have arrived at our hotel
 and there is an Internet connection…

 The images are challenging
 trying to connect –

To see with feeling
 it’s all fascinating and good
 though not always easy…

I planned to post images
while traveling on Facebook.

I completely forgot
China does not allow Facebook or tube
so I will begin now…
Epiphanies sometimes flash and flare for the traveler – flickering moments of discovery, seen out of the corner of your eye.

This journey reminded me of our sacred rhythms and rituals – what and how we celebrate together  – Its for moments like this I left home.

100 Bird Miao

Departure and Arrival

This is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering.

The thing which has been living in your imagination suddenly becomes a part of the tangible world.

– Freya Stark



Off to China – leaving this afternoon – into the wild blue yonder…

I will post pictures if I can – if not I will be back in touch when I return late April !