Tashi and the Monk
In a remote community in the foothills of the Himalaya, a former monk struggles under the weight of his calling. Once a spiritual teacher in the U.S., Lobsang returned to India to create a community for orphaned and neglected children. Tashi — the newest arrival and youngest child with a troubled past and alcoholic father — acts out and challenges her elders every step of the way. But there is a spark in her that Lobsang sees clearly: a person inside the hurt, abandoned child with the potential to blossom and grow. His patience and compassion for Tashi comes from a deeper place than mere sympathy; he was a wild and troubled orphan himself. This portrait of Lobsang and his family of 84 children is a short and lovely reminder that while there is a lot of darkness in the world, there are also beautiful shining points of light.
The tiger is one of the most elusive animals on the planet, but National Geographic photographer Steve Winter has captured these remarkable animals with his camera many times, in addition to taking award-winning photographs of cougars, jaguars and snow leopards. Those images were exhibited at Mountainfilm 2010, but Winter was not able to attend.
This year, Winter finally comes to Telluride to talk about tigers, a species under great stress. These massive animals need large areas to roam, yet they are being forced into smaller ranges. Their prey is similarly limited, so tigers (un)naturally head closer to civilization and kill livestock or humans. It’s then their turn to be hunted. A century ago, there were 100,000 tigers; today, fewer than 3,200 remain in the wild.
Winter is determined to tell the tiger's story to the world through his photographs, hoping that his work will give people a reason to care. His optimism may stem from growing up in rural Indiana and dreaming of becoming a photographer for National Geographic. Not many people realize their dreams, but Winter did and is now trying achieve another: ending the dismal trajectory of the tiger and many other big cats.
In Person: Steve Winter