Vanishing Faces of Tibet

The current pace of industrial development around the world has brought widespread concern about a loss of diversity in nature and the need to protect endangered species. But changes brought by forces of globalization, industrialization and urbanization affect not only animals and plants. People and cultures, modes of thought, and ways of living that have been in existence for thousands of years are also at risk.

Vanishing Faces of Tibet offers a glimpse of the traditional Tibetan culture. Confronted with the assimilative policies of the Chinese government, and the rapid modernization and urbanization of their traditional homeland, Tibetans are facing enormous social pressures. As new roads and new towns spring up in the mountains and grasslands, young Tibetans are either being forced out by rapid development or lured away by the promise of a better urban life. In the process, they leave behind local languages, customs and traditions, succumbing to the pressure of conforming to a more homogeneous society.

A celebration of diversity, these photographs call for balance in economic development and social transformation. They are a reminder that people everywhere must be able to enjoy and contribute to an advancing world, without sacrificing their identities. Knowing those that vanish will never be restored, we must proceed with caution when it comes to modernization, before it is too late.

— Larry Louie

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