Photographer Scott Sporleder puts together a photo essay of shots from a trip to Tibet.

Recently, I was fortunate enough travel to Tibet. For two weeks my camera struggled to keep up with the blistering pace of images and information that was passing before my eyes. Tibet is a place where you can almost touch the energy that surrounds you and its people, whether it’s the quiet mumble of a pilgrim reciting “Om Mani Padme Hum” while walking the Barkhor circuit, or the sound of a damnyen (traditional Tibetan guitar). It’s a place that gets in your soul.

[Editor’s note: These images remain under the photographer’s copyright, all rights reserved. He was kind enough to grant Matador Trips special permission to run them here. For more, visit his website.]


Potala Palace, Tibet

Nighttime view of the Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama.


Tibetan monks

Three monks chat amongst themselves as they walk back to Sera Monastery.


Tibetan girl

This young girl was at Gyatso La Pass. She was wearing a small dress and had an intriguing face with a symmetry and gaze that really caught your eye.


Mt. Everest

View of Mt. Everest from just outside of the first base camp.


Horse festival, Tibet

Inside of a tent at a local horse festival with nomadic merchants who had set up some shops to sell various items.


Tibetan textile

Detailed shot of a woman strolling through a market wearing a brilliantly colored apron.


A street in Tibet

A typical street scene in western Tibet.


Tibetan monk with camera

A monk takes a picture of a rainbow that formed over the Jokhang Temple. The end of the rainbow seems to radiate out of the temple's center.


Lhasa, Tibet

A pilgrim makes his way towards the Barkhor circuit at dawn, Lhasa.


Tibetan jewelry for sale

Detailed image of a jewelery stand in Lhasa.


Sera Monastery

A monk uses his robe to shield the strong sun at the debating grounds, Sera Monastery.


Tibetan prayer wheel

Elderly man spinning a prayer wheel in the old Tibet district of Lhasa.


Colorful doorknob, Tibet

Detailed shot of a doorknob at Drepung Monastery, splattered with the white paint that is thrown on the walls after the rainy season to renew the color.


Brewing yak tea

The atmosphere in the kitchen at Drepung Monastery. The smell of yak butter fills the air as monks pick up canisters of yak tea.


Tibetan pilgrim

A young pilgrim prostrates towards the Jokhang Temple.


Gyantse Kumbum, Tibet

The Gyantse Kumbum is the largest chorten (dome-shaped tomb) in Tibet. Seventy-seven chapels line the path to the top of this structure, symbolizing the tantric path to enlightenment.


Prayer wheels at Potala Palace

An elderly man spins prayer wheels as he makes his way around the circuit at the base of the Potala Palace.


Window, Tibet

A monk's robes take the place of a piece of glass.


Gyatso La Pass, Tibet

Nomad at Gyatso La Pass, which sits at 5,250 meters (17,225 feet) above sea level.


Horse festival

People stand in line behind a makeshift fence at a horse festival waiting for the activities to begin.