Victoria Knobloch is a German photographer who concentrates on black-and-white portrait art and documentary work. Her favorite subjects are the character portrait, street-photography as well as documentaries with social and ecological impact. Her documentary work captures the essence of people’s struggles, delights and human emotions in their widest variety.
Her work embraces the fields of vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike, yet the human element is the continuous thread.
Her goal is to refer to what is good in the world, so her photographs are like an argument there. The images motivate and are showing the dignity, strength and enormous positive potential of mankind. They draw the attention to the beauty, the living force, the peaceful and respectful site of life.
We humans are able and have the potential to create a harmonious, constructive and cooperative world. Through contemplation on her work one can feel the own creative power within oneself.
She is also interested in portraying artists, actors, writers, directors, musicians and all other people that do express themselves by their profession. Victoria Knobloch works as a freelance photographer and invests a lot of time in personal projects. She gives workshops and photography lectures.
Next to photography she works as a classical singer.
About The Work:
Kham (in the Tibetan Autonomous Region) is one of the most exceptional beautiful places I have ever been. The landscape is breathtaking with its snow covered high peaks and endless wide lush green hills. And right now the Tibetan Buddhist culture is re-kindling there again, which was touching to see.
Larung Gar is probably the largest religious institute existing presently with more than 10,000 monks and nuns living there. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok founded the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in 1980 in Larung Valley near Serthar in Sichuan Province. This site was chosen because of its history as a sacred place in Vajrayana and it was originated especially for the urgent need for the renewal of Tibetan Buddhist study and meditation after the Cultural Revolution in Tibet, for revitalizing the Dharma for the benefit of sentient beings. Despite the vastness of this place it is still rarely mentioned on maps or guidebooks.
See Victoria’s recent Dharma Eye article published on “The Wonders of Kham and Larung Gar” by Buddhistdoor Global.
Bodhgaya is the most important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists in India. It is said that the Buddha accomplished Enlightenment there under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. Such sacred places like Bodhgaya can be sources of inspiration and encouragement for practitioners. Therefore thousands of people come to Bodhgaya every day with the wish of building up or accelerating their connection and faith.
In the second part of the series the photographer traveled to Ladakh and further down to the exile regions Bir and Dharamsala. In Bir, Himachal Pradesh one finds a Tibetan refugee settlement and Dharamsala is the city where the Tibetan government in exile is seated.
Yet her main subject was Ladakh which is also called “Little Tibet”. Almost half of all Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists. Buddhism first came to Ladakh already in the 3rd century B.C. from southern India, so there is a long rooted tradition of Buddhism in the country itself. Nevertheless over the centuries monks from Ladakh went to study in neighboring Tibet. The occupation of the Tibetan monasteries by the Chinese since the 1950s however brought them back to Ladakh, now as expatriates. So now the monasteries in Ladakh play an important role for preserving and cultivating Tibetan Buddhist culture.
And in order to maintain this precious tradition, young boys are send to a monastery to live and to study there. They get food, shelter and education provided. In return the monks take care of spiritual ceremonies, weddings, funerals and other rituals. Some of the monks later on engage in advanced academic training for preserving ancient Buddhist wisdom. The tradition of sending a son to a monastery is also helping to control population growth.
Globally considered the forced exile situation has one endowing side-effect: it spreads Tibetan Buddhism throughout the world. Of course now one has to be careful, that this deep and complex tradition does not get diluted and superficial. But also there is a chance that it develops and mingles with other structures of mind setting and cultures and therefore can benefit people largely through tough the world. Buddhism is not a dictum; it changes with the environment and with time. But always in its essence, wherever it is applied, it has the potential to free humans through eliminating suffering and the associated negative emotions. When it is rightly adjusted the practices of Buddhism are encouraging the values of compassion, wisdom, non-discrimination, self responsibility and unconditional love. To achieve this, the teachings provide a path and they remind us to be of benefit to others and to be aware of our universal responsibility.
Over the years, Victoria has photographed people around the globe and especially in Asia, all in her typical black-and-white style.
During her travels the human element is the continuous thread and Victoria is most fascinated by the little worlds of the ordinary people. There she is searching for moments of authenticity, where people do not feel observed and therefore are themselves – then they are most natural and beautiful. But also the direct and close encounter, where two souls meet for a second on a very profound level plays a huge role in her photographic approach.
Nepal has a Tibetan exile population of around 20,000 people of the worldwide 150,000 Tibetan refugees all together. In 1959 after the Chinese invasion and the national uprising, thousands of Tibetan refugees arrived in Boudhanath / Kathmandu and decided to live there and in the surrounding areas to escape from persecution. That’s why the district became one of the most important and largest centers of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. In the area around the holy Boudhanath Stupa you may find more than 30 Tibetan monasteries. The monasteries preserve next to the highly developed philosophy and psychology of Tibetan Buddhism also the spiritual literature, medicine, the arts and sacred dance and crafts of their religion.
The Boudhanath Area in Kathmandu marks one of the most important places in the world which treasures and saves Tibetan Buddhist traditions, just like Dharmsala in India where the Dalai Lama resides and the exiled Tibetan government is situated. The Boudhanath Stupa marks the center of the area. The Stupa is one of the largest of the world and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979. It is also an important place of pilgrimage.
In October 2013 Victoria has been in Kathmandu for one month, visiting the Tibetans there, covering especially Boudhanath and it’s surroundings.
Exhibitions and Publications:
- 2010/Sep Portraits Westwerk Leipzig – Solo exhibition
- 2012/June Artgallery PSK Center New Delhi/India -Group exhibition
- 2012/Aug Russian Center of Art and “World Photography Day” New Delhi/India – Exhibition
- 2012/May finalist “Henri Nannen Prize” for the series: “New Delhi – Capital of India”
- 2012/Nov Photocircle : Publication
- 2013/Jan Seenby: Photographer of the month – Article and Interview
- 2013/June Emerge: Moradokmai Homeschool – Publication
- 2013/July Photocircle: Ganges and Nirvana – Publication
- 2013/Sep Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Leipzig: Ganges and Nirvana – Soloexhibition
- 2013/Sep-Oct Delhi Photo Festival: Krakow Gloomy Poetry – Digital Exhibition
- 2013/Sep Seenby: Photobook „Was Fotografen bewegt“ – Publication
- 2014/April Buddhismus Aktuell: Publication
- 2014/Oct India Habitat Center, New Delhi: Ganges and Nirvana – Joint exhibition/J. Singh
- 2015/April-June VHS – Photography Gallery Stuttgart: Ganges and Nirvana – Solo exhibition