11 September, 2007 - Bhutan A Certain Modernity by Serena Chopra, a photo exhibition, that opened in Thimphu on September 2, attempts to capture the essence of a deeply spiritual and traditional Bhutan embracing the inevitable trappings of modernity.
The 40 pictures, in black and white, are of both rural and urban Bhutanese, captured during varied moments of their daily life. They are intimate, expressive and, at times, moving. There is the old man with his palms folded; the sorrow of a bereaved mother; the change of season in trees; a young girl in front of a Buddhist altar; youth at a discotheque; young men playing a game of snooker. The portfolio of pictures took about five years to compile.
“I lived in their houses, played with their children, and my photos reflect them as they are,” said Serena Chopra.
Serena, 54, is a philanthropist, business-woman, mother, and wife of a doctor, who lives in New Delhi, India. She said she left her successful textile export business to focus on her first love – photography, which today had blossomed into a full “satisfying” career.
She visited Bhutan five years ago as a tourist and “fell in love” with the country right away.
“Bhutan fuelled my passion,” said Serena.
Bhutan intrigued her and she decided to embark on a journey to “find out what made Bhutan so unique.” Towards that end, she travelled extensively in Bhutan.
Bhutanese guide Kinley Gyeltshen, who travelled with Serena, said she was a perfectionist, taking as much as an hour for a single shot. Kinley said she nearly fell of a balcony at the Paro dzong trying to get that perfect mask-dance rehearsal shot. “We had to hold her from behind,” said Kinley