Yamashita ’71 Travels to Tibet for a New Photo Collection

Michael Yamashita ’71

Acclaimed National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita ’71 has just published a new book of photographs Shangri-La: Along the Tea Road to Lhasa (White Star Publishers). His latest photography collection is a rare, intimate look into the Tibet’s changing world—both ancient and modern, sacred and commonplace, the rarefied and the gritty—before the legends and mysteries of the Chamagudao, the Tea Horse Road, disappear into the Tibetan mist.

Book by Michael Yamashita ’71

Yamashita captures stunning images of the Tea Horse Road, which winds through dizzying mountain passes, across famed rivers like the Mekong and the Yangtze, and past monasteries and meadows in a circuitous route from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in western China to the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. As modern-day Chinese culture merges with and even absorbs Tibetan traditions, the Tea Horse Road is a relic of a vastly different time. The Chinese are rapidly paving dirt roads to make highways for cars and trucks. Soon there will be little evidence of this once vital trade route.

Yamashita recently talked about his book at the Asia Society in New York City. You can hear his talk here and see a slide show of his work here.

Read more on Yamashita’s blog.

Sumzanling Monastery in today’s Shangri-La. Photo by Michael Yamashita ’71

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu