I am afraid they will imprison my family if your photographs are seen.
Chapter 2: Ashes and Ice | The Enemies Project
Tibetan refugee. Living in Dharamsala several years. Still fears retaliation from the Chinese government.
Tibetan refugee. Living in Dharamsala over ten years. Still fears retaliation from the Chinese government.
Most of the people I met feared the Chinese government and were afraid to be photographed for anything remotely connected to the China-Tibet conflict for fear that their families back in Tibet could face retribution. And so I photographed them covering their faces. Some former political prisoners talked freely of their imprisonment and torture saying that they had nothing to lose anymore.
To a person, every Tibetan I met told me that I should not try to photograph Tibetans and Chinese together. They were convinced that the Chinese government would manipulate the situation and use the photographs for propaganda. While I was in Dharamsala, several monks set themselves on fire in Tibet. The news traveled across the high Himalayan peaks faster than wind-borne ashes, and the streets would fill with mourners holding grainy cell phone pictures of the dead. The pace of self immolations picked up and China closed Tibet to foreign tourists.
Again, though the goal of the project was the actions of attempting to bring together enemies, I was struck with the need to create a photographic remnant of some sort. I created these pieces as an expression of the stark contrast I saw in the Tibetan refugee community in India. The Tibetans there are happy to be able to be away from Chinese rule, but they dearly miss their country and many of them harbor deep anger and resentment and fear. Great happiness and great fear living side by side.