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Whispered Prayers: Portraits and Prose of Tibetans in Exile Hardcover – July, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0966726114 ISBN-10: 0966726111

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Talisman Press (Santa Barbara, CA) (July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966726111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966726114
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 12.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,363,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Harrison is an American psychiatrist and photographer who became drawn to the plight of the many Tibetans who have sought refuge in India and elsewhere since the Chinese takeover of Tibet. Over the course of three visits toting a bulky panoramic "banquet" Canham camera, he interviewed and photographed these people, poignantly capturing their stories of extreme hardships and suffering, imprisonment, torture, flight across frigid mountain passes, and separation from family and friends. The Dalai Lama's foreword is just a few sentences, and there are two other brief essays, but this book is primarily a photographic essay. A number of recent books (e.g., Steve Lehman's The Tibetans: A Struggle To Survive, LJ 3/1/99) have described the plight of the people of Tibet. This one differs in that it concerns only those who have left their homeland. It does not delve deeply into Tibetan culture nor the complex causes of its crises, but it is a visually powerful book documenting its human tragedies. Larger public libraries with special concerns for Tibetan culture will want this book.
-Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

As a psychiatrist, Stephen Harrison makes his living engaging in conversations about topics that are sensitive and often emotional in content. Through his clinical practice, he has come to discover the beauty in human beings whose lives have been ravaged and scarred by traumas and sufferings.

As a photographer, he has always wanted to photograph the people who tell their stories and document their experience for others. That opportunity materialized in 1996, when an interest in Buddhist psychology piqued his interest in Tibet. Three times he traveled to India, specifically Mussoorie and Dharamsala, to photograph Tibetan exiles and refugees, hear their stories, and attempt to make some sense of the tales for the rest of us.

In February, he departed from Santa Barbara, California, for Mussoorie with his 7" x 17" Canham camera, 400 sheets of film, and five cumbersome cases of equipment stacked five feet high and weighing 400 pounds. His working backpack alone, fully loaded, weighed in excess of 65 pounds!

Born in 1943 in Jersey City, New Jersey, Stephen Harrison took his first photography classes as an undergraduate at Purdue University and pursued that interest while completing B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees there in Electrical Engineering. Two years later, while photographing constantly, he served as Visiting Lecturer at the Norwegian Institute of Technology. During the year he spent in Scandinavia he accumulated over three thousand negatives.

Returning to the United States, Harrison became interested in psychology and completed a master's degree at Antioch University, followed by an M.D. Degree from Yale University. He then went on to complete a psychiatry residency at the University of California/Los Angeles.

However, over the past thirty years, his photography interests and work in the darkroom have remained a constant, and burning avocation. Beyond the actual photographing, he enjoys making fine images and exploring new technologies for producing them. His background and interest in engineering and science have taken him through various mediums and techniques. He first used silver gelatin as his photosensitive material of choice, then switched to platinum and palladium printing. Today he is excited about digital imaging, and for the past year has been working full speed in this endeavor.

As a photographer, Harrison has several areas of interest which have emerged over time. Landscapes compose an important part of his work including, for the past four years, several months annually spent in Alaska. He has also photographed Southwest Desert areas, Death Valley, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and the San Juan River flowing through Arizona and New Mexico.

First evident in his work in Norway, Harrison's interest in people and portraits continues today. His Tibetan project combines fine art portraiture as well as technical expertise with the power and relevance of personal narrative from both the refugees and the photographer. Several of these prints have been exhibited previously in a juried exhibition at the Frameworks and De La Guerra Gallery, in one-man shows at Sullivan Goss Books & Print and The F Stops Here gallery, all of which are located in Santa Barbara, California. His work is represented by Sullivan Goss, the Peter Fetterman Gallery (Santa Monica, CA), and the John Stevenson Gallery (New York City).

Today Harrison considers himself foremost a photographer although he is still a practicing psychiatrist in Los Angeles. A portion of the profits from WHISPERED PRAYERS will be contributed to Tibetan causes. Currently, he is a founder of the Tibetan Multicultural Educational Center in Dharamsala, a director of a scholarship program for older refugees in Dharamsala, a supporter of the Tibetan Homes School in Mussoorie, and on the Board of Directors of Friends of Tibetan Women Association (Santa Barbara, CA).

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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Tognarelli on March 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must see and read. Stephen Harrison truly captures the personal side of Tibetans in Exile. As you read the stories behind the Tibetans portrayed in the photographs, it's as if you are in the background while Stephen Harrison interviews these most courageous Tibetan people. The portrait photography is wonderfully presented in a landscape format providing for a personal backdrop behind the emotion and suffering of each Tibetan portrayed. This is a one of a kind presentation providing a first-time moving experience each and everytime you open the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Whispered Prayers: Portraits And Prose Of Tibetans In Exile, Stephen Harrison showcases the inner experiences of being a Tibetan refugee through a moving narration combined with exquisite photography. This wonderful exhibition is a worthy and valued contribution is further enhanced with a foreword by His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Whispered Prayers will be read with deep engagement by students of Buddhism, of Tibetan history, and all who seek an enlightenment path through perilous and stressful times.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joe Mickey on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of seeing a preview copy of this book. It isa must read as we move toward understanding what it might mean for thefuture in making China richer and more powerful through trade.
This book puts a gentle face on a very brave people who have suffered not only the largest land grab of the 20th century through the bloody invasion by China (Tibet is the size of Europe) but have suffered a genocide by the Chinese that is the most widely ignored in history.
This is a beautiful book and worth the price. Add to your reading list "Tears Of Blood" by Mary Craig and "In Exile From the Land Of Snows" by John Avedon.
China will be one of the 3 big stories of the next century if we make it richer and more powerful. This book is as important as it is a beautiful undertaking. Congratulations to Mr. Harrison END
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NJ Dad on April 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book. Of course the subject matter is tragic, and the pictures and text reflect the terrible political actions that have created this situation. Mr. Harrison's photographs with the Ultra-Large Format camera are beautiful. Printing is very high quality. Glad I own this book.
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