Serena Chopra - Bhutan Echoes

Bhutan Echoes features a selection from Serena Chopra’s extremely rich archive of human emotions observed while travelling through Bhutan, a country that has a famously declared mission-statement of ‘Gross National Happiness’. Chopra’s photographs capture the unique landscape of this country with its surprising blend of the secular and the religious, myth and reality, the traditional with the modern, and the immense contrast between its smaller townships and faraway ancient villages. Trekking with a special permit to remote and restricted areas in high altitude regions with no regular roads, Chopra has produced a unique, intimate view of Bhutanese society through the length of the country, from Thimpu to Merak.

Over a period of 12 years, and with repeated trips, Chopra not only travelled into the interiors and hidden valleys of Bhutan, but also lived as a guest in many villagers’ homes — providing her with an intimate experience of their way of life, and the beliefs that governed them. Accordingly she notes, that as she got to know the Bhutanese better, she began to “photograph them with a vision that came from a more subtle understanding of their truth.” Her black and white photographs resist judgement, and chronicle with an almost traditional classicism a world within a world, offering evocative insight into the lives of the Bhutanese people.

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