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Portrait from Ziro which is home to the tribal group called the Apatanis. www.robertvankoesveld.com

"The Apatanis, one of the major ethnic groups of eastern Himalayas, have a distinct civilization with systematic land use practices and rich traditional ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation, acquired over the centuries through informal experimentation. The tribe is known for their colorful culture with various festivals, intricate handloom designs, skills in cane and bamboo crafts, and vibrant traditional village councils called bulyañ. This has made Ziro Valley a good example of a living cultural landscape where man and environment have harmoniously existed together in a state of interdependence even through changing times, such co-existence being nurtured by the traditional customs and spiritual belief systems.
The hallmark of the valley is judicious utilization of limited land area. The relatively flat land in the valley is used for wet-rice cultivation where fish also is reared. This systematic land-use pattern ensures high level of biodiversity in the area and efficient conservation of crucial watersheds ensuring perennial streams flowing into the valley to meet the needs of the people"
From the UNESCO submission.
Arunachal Pradesh, India.
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I spent my last full day in Bhutan at the Punakha Drubchen. I missed the re-enactment of the 17th century battle with the Tibetan army which is on the third day. Still the always wonderful Dzong was richly decorated and I did see some of the initial blessing of the dance arena and other enjoyable activities. One dance, often seen in Bhutan, involves masked monks in costumes that represent all the demons one is likely to see in a kind of Buddhist purgatory. Each mask is a particular demon and being able to recognise them equips you for negotiating this scary place after you die. This monk with his face still visible is awaiting his cue to enter. #bhutan

My book Bhutan Heartland is available from Amazon :
www.amazon.com/Bhutan-Heartland-Travels-Thunder-Dragon/dp/1921361743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488326572&sr=8-1&keywords=Bhutan+heartland
Or Fremantle Press -
www.fremantlepress.com.au/products/bhutan-heartland
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A gomchen monk snoozes in the warm, late afternoon sun, in Bhutan. My book Bhutan Heartland is available from Amazon & Fremantle Press -
https://www.amazon.com/Bhutan-Heartland-Travels-Thunder-Dragon/dp/1921361743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488326572&sr=8-1&keywords=Bhutan+heartland
https://www.fremantlepress.com.au/products/bhutan-heartland
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Another image from yesterday's 'magic hour' at Trongsa Dzong.
My book Bhutan Heartland is available from Amazon :
www.amazon.com/Bhutan-Heartland-Travels-Thunder-Dragon/dp/1921361743/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488326572&sr=8-1&keywords=Bhutan+heartland
Or Fremantle Press -
www.fremantlepress.com.au/products/bhutan-heartland
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Sometimes as you move in the world as a photographer,
A magical window opens....
Namgay found such a window a couple of hours ago and the three of us worked quietly and earnestly for an hour as a group of monks transformed themselves into sacred dancers. Then to top it off, they brought in 200 butter lamps to light the scene.
(preliminary edit)
There are more to come once I get home again.
+Illuminating Tours
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An Ocean of Possibilities in Kolkata

I having been working on a project about the god makers of Kumartuli, here in Kolkata, on and off for a few years. More about this another time. Today was the day when all the thousands of images of Saraswati which have been made over many weeks and finally sold over the last two days have their day as The Goddess. I was lucky to join 1400 girl students and their teachers for the Puja at a local school. Tomorrow the goddess will be immersed in the river and she will have completed her purpose.

But today she was a part of the deep valuing of knowledge and education here in India. Yesterday I visited a Book Mela that had 300,000 visitors in one day. It runs for 14! Sadly schools are given far too little government support and staff/student ratios have been allowed to reach absurd proportions. 1-120!

I was working on editing just now and found myself in tears looking at all these faces. Today I met enthusiastic students, dedicated teachers and a limitless ocean of faces full of promise.
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Myanmar Market Mood : some locations seem to have a certain atmosphere or feeling which can be hard to name in the, often, time limited 'work' of photography. And actually, is it the place's mood, your own mood or just the gear you are using or even just the time of day? There certainly is an interaction between my own mood and that of the place that can emerge (usefully) in the images. More so if I can notice it at the time

www.robertvankoesveld.com ©Robert van Koesveld Photography
Instagram @robertvankoesveld and @geikomaikokyoto
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Festivals (or Tshechu) in Bhutan (1/3) involve mask dances, usually performed by monks as well as other traditional dances performed by local villagers.

#bhutan #dance #festival #buddhism #Tshechu
#robertvankoesveldphotography
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Another image from the second day of the Erikae of Geiko Ichitomi from the Nakagishi Okiya in Gion Kobu. Newly debuted geiko always take time to make personal visits to Okiya and Ochaya and certain local businesses and are usually followed by a group of enthusiastic photographers. Itchtomi wore an especially wonderful shibori kimono. Geiko in this process of visiting are always accompanied by someone very familiar with the kagai and its culture, often an otokoshi, as was the case today.

www.robertvankoesveld.com ©Robert van Koesveld Photography
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