The Photo of Tibetan Prayer Flags

The photo of Tibetan prayer flags was taken in 2010 during my trip to Tibet. It was exhibited in a couple of Toronto art galleries, printed in photography magazines, as well being “stolen” and posted online, on social media and spiritual websites. Now the photo is being displayed at Toronto Pearson International Airport, following the Fujifilm “Life Captured” contest.

The Story of the Photo and the Meaning of the Tibetan Prayer Flags

It was a sunny, but windy day up into the Himalayan mountains, and the colourful prayer flags were winding against the backdrop of the blue skies with few white clouds. Down in the valley the rivers were flowing between the naked peaks. The flags bring colour and dynamism into the composition.

The Tibetan prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.

Tibetan prayer flags

“Prayer flags fluttering in the wind spread spiritual blessings over all sentient beings, cleansing their souls.” – Tashi Namgyel

The flags come in five colours and are arranged in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow, each colour representing one Buddhist element.

  • Blue – sky, space
  • White – air, wind
  • Red –  fire
  • Green – water
  • Yellow – earth

Fujifilm photo contest

Snapshots magazine

To take this photo I used the SIGMA DP1 high-end compact, the first camera to have a large, SLR sized sensor in a small body. This, coupled with the unique Foveon sensor, bring the images to life through beautiful colours, crisp sharpness and the Foveon 3D look.

“Memory is very important, the memory of each photo taken, flowing at the same speed as the event. During the work, you have to be sure that you haven’t left any holes, that you’ve captured everything, because afterwards it will be too late.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson


Photo location: Ganden Monastery, Wangbur Mountain, Lhasa Prefecture, Tibet


Tibet: Om Mani Padme Hum

Ganden Monastery

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp