Vignettes from the Journeys


Wenshu Monastery, Chengdu, China

You would never know from the serene nature of this photo that it was taken at the edge of a crowded parking lot surrounded by dozens of tourists and locals. Photos are always an illusion created by the point-of-view of the photographer. It’s really old, scanned from a slide from my first trip abroad with a medical mission team. – Shari Hartbauer

Young Lady, Tamil Nadu, India

This young girl was so proud of the dress her mother made for her with ruffles and embroidery. She really wanted her photo taken to show off her modern frock. The irony is that the traditional sari makes every mundane task a beautiful and elegant event, whether it is worn to plant rice, cook meals or tend to babies. And a sari is certainly easier to make than a dress with ruffles. The little sister in the background has her face covered in turmeric paste, an herb commonly used for skin care in India. – Shari Hartbauer

Smoker, Myanmar

It is unusual for me to photograph anyone in a sneaky way, but this woman was so intimidating in the way she smoked at her market stall that even the locals gave her a wide berth. I could say that I just wanted to capture her strength and attitude, which could only be done surreptitiously, but the truth is I didn’t have the courage to get any closer than I did. – Shari Hartbauer


Ugen Choling, Bhutan

When we met, this bespectacled man was chanting mantras on the porch of his tiny house, gnarly hands fingering his mala beads, counting each prayer. Enlightenment is assured if one reaches an impossibly high number of recitations. His beads are marked with charms so he can track how many he’s said. His wife sat next to him weaving on her lap loom and gossiping with a neighbor lady. With no interpreter or shared language, we communicated through gestures and smiles. They invited me to sit with them. I asked to take photos. The best encounters happen between the events on the trip itinerary. – Shari Hartbauer









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