Life in Tibet

American photographer Phil Borges tells the story of the indigenous peoples of Tibet.
Phil Borges only photographs of people. But not just any people, but only those whom we, the inhabitants of the cities, do not see. Those that live their own, some very strange life away from our Eurocentric civilization. For almost twenty-five years Phil Borges traveling the world and exploring the culture of peoples who are on the verge of extinction. His photographs we see the inhabitants of the world, against which traditionally use the cliche "the third world", "small people", "dysfunctional - or just emerging - the state."
Almost all the pictures Borges makes up close, which allows for sharpening of all the details of the portrait. In this case, the background remains blurred because, as a rule, substantially removed from the site survey, it offers the opportunity to look at the human figure, which literally blind us to all of the surrounding reality.
"I want the viewer to see in these people personality, knew their names, something of their history, and not just looked at the pictures and see them a member of a small ethnic group or tribe," - says Phil. That's why every picture wizard is provided with a clear comment, telling the life story of imprinted camera man.

Jigme and Sonam 8 years, 18 months. Ladakh, Tibet
Jigme and Sonam - sisters from a family of nomads, who had just come down from the Himalayas in their winter camp, located on the Tibetan plateau at an altitude of 5000 m above sea level. When I showed her picture on Jigme Polaroids, she screamed and ran into the tent. I realized that the first time she saw herself on the side because her family does not have a mirror.
Tibet, people

Dawa - a student and the eldest son of a farmer. Although his responsibility herd of 400 goats, he spends most of his free time reading - especially Dawa loves everything that is written in the Tibetan language. He proudly showed me the English - Tibetan phrase, western traveler who gave him two years ago.
Tibet, people

Kezang lives in a small village 45 km from the Tibet-Nepal border in the "Friendship Highway" between Kathmandu and Lhasa. Very close are the caves where the famous sage Milarepa spent many years of his life in meditation. Shortly after I took this photo well armed Chinese warriors began to scream and tore some of my sheets using a support for Polaroid. Fortunately, the film remained intact.
Tibet, people

Yama, 8 years old. Lhasa
Yama, her parents and three sisters went out of the province Kam on a pilgrimage to 6 weeks in Lhasa, Jokhang Temple in. Most of the way Yama helped carry our 10-month-old daughter - said her father. - She's from a very early age tends to help others.
Tibet, people

Pusung, 64 years old and Dundup, 32 years old. Puga Valley, Ladakh
Pusung and Dundup - father and son. I got to their camp at an altitude of 5200 m above sea level in December, on a very cold and windy day. They had just finished praying and preparing to sacrifice two yaks in the name of a hearty winter. It was quite a primitive rite. It seemed that this scene could take place two years ago in the North American prairies.
Tibet, people

Tseten, 81 years old. Choglamsar, Ladakh
Tseten was almost fifty when he seized a large herd of goats and yaks, and he was forced to leave Tibet. He is one of the two thousand Tibetans living in a refugee camp near Choglamsara in Ladakh. Here, he has only one goat and a small plot of land where he grows vegetables.
I'm a Buddhist, so I can be happy anywhere - says Tseten.
Tibet, people

Shelo, Benben and 20 years, 17 years. Nyalam, Tibet
Shelo and Benben, best friends since childhood. They worked as a maid in a hotel in Nyalame, ancient Tibetan village, which has become a hub for climbers on their way to Mount Everest.
Tibet, people

Dolkar, Yoda and Decca
These women, along with their families fled from Tibet during the Chinese intervention in 1959. Dolkar husband was killed during the uprising, and she had to take care of itself a family of six people. According to her, although it was a very difficult and sad time, during the escape to India, she met wonderful friends.
Tibet, people

Dolma, 38 years. Chantang, Ladakh
Dolma never met Westerners. She ran up to me, touched me on the shoulder and quickly removed his hand, hid it under his cloak and laughed. A young girl she was running through the Tibetan-Indian border with his family after a rumor spread that the residents of their nomadic camp forced to live in a commune.
Tibet, people

Norzum, 44 years old. Lake Tso Morari, Ladakh
Norzum remembers, as a boy, fled Tibet with his family. When traveling at night and hiding during the day, they are for more than twenty days had crossed the border in Ladakh. During the bitter cold at an altitude of 5000 m the death of his younger brother. Norzum says that the place where he now has to live, much more severe than his homeland.
Tibet, people

Lobsang Tenzin and 67 years old, 13 years old. Bodhnat, Nepal.
Lobsang, along with 66 other monks arrested in 1959. He was released from prison just 21 years and was one of three survivors. His best friend died in prison before his hands. When Lobsang Tenzin met, he recognized him as the reincarnation of his friend. Lobsang says that he sees in this young man of the old features of the deceased comrade.
Tibet, people

Tsezim, 79 years old and decks, 72 years old. Dharamsala, India
Tsezim and Deca - old friends. They were among the 100,000 Tibetans who fled Tibet in 1959 along with the Dalai Lama. Deck husband was killed during the uprising, but she was able to bring her five children. Since Deca settled in Dharamsala, close to Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Tibet, people

Pemba, 4 years. Trak-Current, Ladakh
Pemba came to the village of Trak-current with his mother and sister on the dance festival in sunny but frosty December day. It caught my attention that was completely absorbed in the spectacle. It seemed during the ceremony, she never budge, despite the biting cold wind.
Tibet, people

Samdi, 72 years old. Ganden Monastery, Tibet
Samdi came to Ganden (one of the largest Tibetan monasteries, universities) in 12 years. During the Cultural Revolution, Ganden was completely destroyed, as well as other Tibetan monasteries in 6200, of which only 11 survived. Samdenu was then 44. Now he is 72 and he is still living in this restored monastery.
Tibet, people


  1. Stunning, timely, poignant. Thank you so very much for sharing these significant images and
    stories so critical at this time in Tibet's history. Nona Famous, United States 12/17/2015

  2. Thank you for opening our eyes to the plight of these people. I have followed their despair for many years but to see the faces gives me a fuller understanding. They are our brothers and sisters.