Thomas Laird, the photographer behind the new TASCHEN book Murals of Tibet, will appear at form & concept this Friday at 5 pm for a special event. He’ll talk about his journey of over ten years to create this stunning archive of Tibetan Buddhist art, and offer visitors an intimate look at the SUMO-sized Collector’s Edition of the book. Murals of Tibet has been on display in the gallery’s atrium since early July, and Laird’s appearance marks its final day here.
Ahead of the event, check out this incredible video series by TASCHEN about the creation of Murals of Tibet. Above, TASCHEN introduces the book in spectacular fashion. Here’s an excerpt from the narration:
For centuries, Tibet has been seen as an island in the sky. A remote land, close to the lights, beyond the mountains. A mysterious land, where monks practiced rituals and yoga that led to wisdom and power. What if, even in our age of increased accessibility, a great treasure still remained—hidden all of these centuries? Visions from another world. Visions created to inspire, as Tibetans say, liberation upon seeing.
Over the course of five expeditions, and using multi-image capture and render technology, Thomas Laird amassed the first catalog of life-size images of more than 200 Buddhist mural masterpieces—including the oldest and most important painted during the past 1,000 years.
In this “making of” video, the editorial team discusses the design process. Managing Editor Florian Kobel says:
The murals can now be appreciated much better than on site. They have never been explored to the extent as they have been now, because the walls are 9 meters high, the lighting is terrible. You never were able to look up and study the faces.
Frank Goerhardt, TASCHEN’s global publishing director, continues:
You cannot get the picture with one photograph. It is a sum of pictures taken digitally and stitched together.
Laird sat down with Richard Gere at the Explorers Club in New York for a conversation about the making of the book. Here’s what he had to say:
I spend the day shooting hundreds of images. That’s a lovely day in Tibet, in a dark room. […] You see the Buddha when you’re done that day, but you also have a headache. Then you bring that home, and you sit down in front of a computer, and your wife puts up with you for a month or six weeks. Then you say to her, ‘It’s very nice, but it’s not proper… so I need to go back to Tibet to recapture this.
Come meet Laird and learn more about Murals of Tibet on Saturday. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so make sure to arrive early.