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Jonathan Harris April 19, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bhutan.
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Sonam Wangmo talks about happiness in Bhutan 2007

Jonathan Harris (b. 1979, USA) studied computer science and photography at Princeton University. His projects include We Feel Fine, a search engine for human emotions; I Want You To Want Me, an installation about online dating; Cowbird, a public library of human experience; 10 x 10, a system for encapsulating moments in time; The Whale Hunt, a series of photographs timed to match his heartbeat; and I Love Your Work, an interactive film about the daily lives of sex workers. He won a 2005 Fabrica fellowship and three Webby Awards. Print Magazine named him a “2008 New Visual Artist,” and TIME Magazine named his project, Cowbird, one of the “50 Best Websites of 2012.” Jonathan’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including at MoMA (New York), Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing). He has lectured about his work at the TED Conference, MoMA, Google, The New York Times, The World Economic Forum, the Sundance Film Festival, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale Universities, and The Rhode Island School of Design.

About the Project:

Balloons of Bhutan is a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan uses “Gross National Happiness’ instead of ‘Gross National Product’ to measure its socio-economic prosperity, essentially organizing its national agenda around the basic tenets of Buddhism. In late 2007, I spent two weeks in Bhutan, interviewing 117 people about different aspects of happiness. I asked people to rate their level of happiness between one and ten, and then inflated that number of balloons, so very happy people would be given ten balloons, and very sad people would be given only one. I also asked each person to make a wish, and then wrote that wish on a balloon of their favorite color. On the final night, all 117 wish balloons were re-inflated and strung up at Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at 10,000 feet, and left to bob up and down in the wind, mingling with thousands of strands of prayer flags. Balloons of Bhutan was sponsored by the Bhutan Youth Development Fund, an NGO working to provide opportunities for local Bhutanese youth.”

Lynsey Addario April 24, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Bhutan.
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Monks at a monastery in Wangdi Phodrang, Chencho, Bhutan

Throughout her career, Lynsey Addario has focused on human rights issues, ranging from the effects of the Castro regime in Cuba to life under the Taliban in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq. She has documented the human and psychological toll of the U.S. occupation in Iraq, while also shooting news features on the crisis in Darfur, women in Saudi Arabia, the lifting of sanctions in Libya, and the democratic movement in Lebanon. In 2005, Addario was awarded the Fuji Prize at Perpignan for her work on wounded soldiers in Iraq, amongst honors from the National Press Photographers Association for her work in the Sudan. In 2002 Addario was named Young Photographer of the Year by the International Center of Photography, and one of the Thirty Best Emerging Photographers by PDN. Lynsey doesn’t stop moving. Just these past couple of weeks between assignments in the Congo and the Moroccan desert she is on her way via her home in Istanbul to speak at ICP in New York tomorrow.

About the Photograph:

“I spent a total of two months in Bhutan for National Geographic, and was surprised at how even a closed-off Buddhist kingdom at the foothills of the Himalayas is being influenced by western culture. I shot this picture in one of the monk’s bedrooms inside of a monastery, and laughed when i saw a coca cola fridge. Bhutan opened to its first foreigners in 1974, and the government allowed satellite TV in 1999 for the first time- opening a pandoras box of influence from the outside world.”

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