Capturing the world on film
There is a quality radiating from Lisa Kristine that is hard to put a finger on. More than anything else, it may be a degree of sincerity that is rare to find these days.
It’s an attribute that makes people feel comfortable with her, even trust her. From young monks in Tibet to brick-making slaves in India to isolated tribes engaging in sacred rituals in Papua New Guinea, she finds a way to bond despite barriers ranging from language to lifestyle.
“That’s the complete drive of my career. It’s those moments of connection,” she said.
The Glen Ellen-based photographer travels the world capturing images of humanity at its best and worst. She has circled the globe time and time again, always searching for a new way to present the beauty and the heart of the world’s indigenous people.
“My work has covered 70 countries on six continents,” she said.
Her willingness to trek into the most isolated pockets of the planet has put an international spotlight on her skills. Her photos have been featured on CNN and the Huffington Post, and have sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York to benefit the United Nations. In 2009 she was invited as sole exhibitor at the Vancouver Peace Summit where her images were seen by the Dalai Lama. She is currently working with the secretary general of Bhutan to document youth for a show next year.
“I will be donating the proceeds of that show back to the youth of Bhutan,” she said.
Her latest project has her looking back at her more than 25 years of work, nearly all of which was shot on a 4-by-5-inch field view camera. Kristine has released two new photography books, which span the duration of her career, highlighting her keen eye for capturing exquisite moments that offer insight into other ways of life.
“It’s become very important to me that the work is sound and solid as a piece of artwork, but that it also have a clear message,” she said.
For “One Breath,” Kristine searched through her massive catalogue of portraits. She assembled a collection that showcases the depth and variety of the many faces she’s captured over the years.
“It’s largely a portrait of humanity around the world,” she said. “It’s really about what separates us, which I hope is nothing.”
The book includes a forward from Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey, a National Geographic Society Fellow Explorer, who sought out Kristine after seeing her work.
“Through her images, Lisa Kristine masterfully articulates the power and magnitude of one breath and the human family,” Lindsey wrote. “She guides you into the communion with such intimacy and splendor that you almost feel the breath of each portrait.”
In “The Intimate Expanse,” Kristine delved into her landscape work; although she’s quick to point out none of her work is actually about landscapes.
“I’m not a landscape photographer, I’m a humanitarian photographer,” she said. “It’s more of a tribute to people and their environments.”
In one image, a woman is walking through one of the immense plateaus found between the mountain peaks of the Himalayas. It’s a photograph Kristine is particularly fond of.
“She’s in this rugged, very difficult to live in environment, and regardless of that huge expanse, she’s still comfortable and happy,” she said. “She’s still grinning in this enormity. It’s a metaphor for how we can all live life.”
Vaughn Hart, program chair of the Sierra Club in Los Angeles, penned the forward to “The Intimate Expanse,” lauding Kristine’s ability to tell the story of the world through images.
“Too often in our busy lives we lose sight that the world around us is impacted by the way we live. In this book the images call to attention that there are many different places on earth where man can live with the earth, not necessarily upon it,” he wrote.
Both books are being sold now as collector’s limited edition books, to be printed and released in January. Each is numbered and signed by Kristine, making them a unique piece of art that comes hand-wrapped in a linen clamshell box. With the purchase of a book, buyers will also receive a signed, 10-by-13-inch print, from their choice of four images.
Collector’s editions of Kristine’s sold-out first book, “A Human Thread,” which originally sold for $500, are now selling for around $1,500 when copies become available online. “They do go up in value,” she said.
Collector’s editions of “One Breath” and “The Intimate Expanse” are discounted to $350 as a promotional price before the book is printed. In January the books will sell for $500.
To purchase a book or for more details, visit www.lisakristine.com.