Cultures in Transition gives viewers the opportunity to broaden their thinking and be transported to a world beyond their own. The lives captured in these images showcase cultural diversity while exploring the aesthetics of disappearance. Geir Jordahl, True North Editions publisher writes: “Oliver Klink’s pictures are dreams manifest – they become representations of our past, present, and future. His photographs are of exotic places and people, yet they connect deeply to what it means to be human. They are about survival. They are about hope. They are about the Spirit, Heart, and Soul in us all.”
I photographed over a fifteen-year span in the countries of Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, and Myanmar. Over this extended period of time, I established trust with his subjects enabling me to venture further away from the mainstream tourist locations. I began to focus on the true essence of the people, the subtleties that make their life evolve, accessing what I call their spiritual guiding light. “I resisted depicting the typical visual transitions, such as the new electronic devices, the high-rise buildings going up like mushrooms, the freeways built as quickly as sandcastles, the modern transportation, the influence of western clothing, the packaged food, and the old villages turned into tourist attractions. Instead, I explored how all these changes impacted the essence of their lives; family, work, and the basic needs for survival that are essential to life.”
I watched people and started to feel their emotions about change, their worries, their acceptance. I witnessed them falling behind, trying to hold on to their comfort zones, their culture, and their spirituality. Everyone that I interacted with described transition differently, but one thing that was common was that the typical visual signs of “progress” were the least of their worries. The loss of emotional connection with themselves and their communities was their most significant concern.
The show companion is the book published by True North Editions, which won 9 awards for the best photography book of 2019. Further information about the book can be found at www.culturesintransition.com