York Hovest: One Hundred Days in Tibet

As part of Leica Camera’s program of events at photokina, numerous lectures and book signings were held. Today, we take a look at York Hovest’s photography book “One Hundred Days in Tibet – The Promise,” which he spoke about on the last day of photokina. Previously, we have featured his fashion work on the blog.

York Hovest is a Munich-based photographer. After a decade of modeling, he decided to do what he always wanted to do and moved to the other side of the camera. After assisting well-known photographers in Milan and Munich, York started his career in photography in 2009.

Inspired by a personal meeting with the Dalai Lama and his moving words about the fate of his country, York Hovest promised to capture Tibet in pictures and sounds. He set out on his 100-day journey in 2012 with a Leica S2. His impressive images capture not only the breathtaking landscapes of Tibet, but also poignant portraits of Tibetan nomads and monks.

Q: What image is your favorite in this portfolio and why?

A: The night shot of Mount Everest is definitely one of my favorite ones. It was such a difficult time to get to there. So hard to realize it. I had to climb up on a mountain slope near the base camp in the middle of the night. I was alone outside on an altitude of 5,140 meters.

I had just the Leica S2 and a tripod with me, which I had to stabilize on the loose ground. -15 C and the strong wind did not make it easier. After almost 40 minutes, I finally made this gorgeous longtime exposure when suddenly the clouds moved away and the highest mountain on earth stood right in front of me. I guess I never felt more impressed. Some call him mother of the earth, and now I know why!

Q: Of this article about your journey behind the book featured on Die Welt, what aspects did your presentation focus on at photokina?

A: My main focus always concentrates on the expression of each photo. Every single one of the pictures that are shown in my presentations have their own history and story. I try to select my photos in a way, that the audience gets an interesting overview of what I experienced in Tibet and why I did that expedition. But of course, especially at photokina, I wanted the people to feel the passion that I put in every picture. My passion for photography.

Q: How was your experience at photokina presenting “One Hundred Days in Tibet”?

A: Well what can I say? It was my first presentation in front of a huge audience and the people where so fascinated by my project; it was just unbelievable. The response was incredible for me. I never expected that my Tibet project could be so powerful for people.

Q: What, if anything, do you hope the viewer sees or gains when looking at these images?

A: First of all I went to Tibet because of the promise, which I gave to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in August 2011. I promised that I would go to Tibet and try to capture the spirit and the beauty of the people and their country. I wanted to create a portrait of Tibet how it is now after more than 50 years of repression.

Q: How did it feel to present the completed book to the Dalai Lama?

A: It was a big relief having the first issue of the printed book in my hands, but it was an incredible feeling to hand it over to His Holiness. That was the moment I fulfilled my promise. I worked more than three years to get to this point, and finally it was there.

Thank you for your time, York!

– Leica Internet Team

To connect with York, visit his website and Facebook. You can learn more about his book on Facebook and purchase it here. See #DasWesentliche impressions from photokina here.

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  • Such an inspiring collection of work in a unique and beautiful part of the world. Thank you for sharing and validating the people and landscape in your words and photographs.

  • What an amazing pledge, and an incredible adventure! I would love to hear the story from his family too, it’s not easy to make such a journey with a young family. Bravo York 🙂

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