About the Book
I am a humanitarian photographer applying my creativity towards helping others and providing myself with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. I see, I experience, I feel, and I am inspired to photograph and share.
The Anim invited me to accompany them inside their temple as they perform archaic rituals, analyze scripture, and learn Buddhist philosophy. I was encouraged to join the Anim in the rituals of Saga Dawa, the most auspicious day of the year. It is the day Lord Buddha was conceived, born, defeated evil, gained enlightenment, and attained Nirvana. The concluding day of the event culminates in the unfurling and raising of the Guru Thangtong Gyalpo’s Thongdrel. An immense and gorgeous tapestry that bestows blessings to those who merely view it. Pilgrims travel for many days to join the Anim in prayer and witness the Thongdrel.
I was unprepared for the extraordinary experience of participating in their rituals. I am compelled to sit with my eyes closed because the rites are incredibly intense. I breathe in the aromatic smoke from burning incense, the rich taste of hot butter tea, the thunderous drums, the piercing notes of horns, and rising above it all, the melodious voices chanting prayers. My senses are wholly immersed, almost overloaded. Then when I am nearly satiated, I open my eyes and photograph.
A pilgrim appeals, “Please photograph me so that I may have a picture for when I die.” I accept the responsibility of preserving their image for posterity and oblige to their appeal. Word spreads, so I fulfill requests from additional members of the pilgrimage.
May all the prayers contained in this book influence you to bestow benefits and help upon others. All proceeds from this support the Anim.
Features & Details
After teaching at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, my full-time goal for the previous 17 years has been to help those in need or to assist the organizations that are helping them. I can contribute with photographs that create a sense of purpose and cohesiveness, raise credibility, and share accomplishments and successes with donors. My photos focus on the feelings of people who are in need, create emotional empathy, and make it harder not to help them. Since 2004, we helped those less fortunate by moving to a small village in the Lao PDR, building a school building, selecting and supporting scholarship students, assisting patients to access medical care locally, nationally, internationally, and sometimes attending funeral ceremonies. Bryan and his wife Leila Srour, a pediatrician have been living in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) from 2002 to 2013. Now they are always on the road with no home base.