Media Reviews of VCP

Goodnet

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Giving Voice to Indigenous People

Giving Voice to Indigenous People

January 7, 2012

“We are not poor or primitive. We do not need money or possessions. What we need is respect: respect for our culture, and respect for our land rights.” This powerful quote comes from Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, a member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil that is on the verge of being displaced by a government built dam that will cut off his tribe’s water supply.

This point of view might not be heard if not for Vanishing Cultures Project (VCP), a nonprofit working to advocate for the rights of indigenous people worldwide by safeguarding their culture, traditions and practices. VCP does this through documentary journalism- archiving lifestyles and traditions, educating the general public, advocating for indigenous rights and raising money for indigenous cultural initiatives.

Currently there are 5000 distinct indigenous peoples living across 6 continents in more than 90 countries. These people have rich stories, traditions, languages and history, and VCP is intent on archiving this valuable information for generations to come. By partnering directly with indigenous groups, VCP creates books and media that give them a voice by sharing their stories with the world. (more)
 

 

American Center for Mongolian Studies

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Vanishing Cultures Project: Documentary Journalism, Re-imagined

Vanishing Cultures Project: Documentary Journalism, Re-imagined

October 25, 2012

Taylor Weidman and Nina Wegner are spearheading the Vanishing Cultures Project, whose goal is to document, preserve, and educate people on traditional lifestyles and cultures around the world. Taylor is an award winning photojournalist and documentary photographer who has worked with a number of international NGOs to cover issues in developing countries. Nina is an internationally published writer, editor, and book designer, who also currently writes a blog on indigenous issues for the Huffington Post.
Last year Nina and Taylor ventured to the region of Mustang in northern Nepal to document and photograph the Loba, who are the remaining inhabitants of the former Tibetan kingdom of Lo. The construction of a new highway connecting this isolated region to lower Nepal and China promises many improvements to the area, but with the potential for the loss of the traditional culture and lifestyle of the Loba. From this expedition, the Vanishing Cultures Project produced a book, Mustang: Lives and Landscapes of the Lost Tibetan Kingdom. (more)
 

 

Lens Magazine (China)

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Lens Magazine – The Vanishing Tibetan Culture: The Beauty and Sorrow of Mustang

The Vanishing Tibetan Culture: The Beauty and Sorrow of Mustang

October 10, 2012
By: Eleven Du

(Translation) Take seven-hour bus from Katmandu to Pokhara, and fly to Jomsom by air, then five-hour walk to Kagbeni. You might think this is the land’s end, but from now on, the way to Mustang, the former Kingdom of Lo, just starts.

Hidden in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, this remote kingdom built since the 15 th century has almost remained unchanged. Mustang, located at the border of Nepal and China, is the last stop of Buddhism’s drive northwards to Tibet: people here are called Loba, a branch of Tibetan; they speak a dialect of Tibetan; the customs are quite the same as Tibet and even considered as the best-preserved traditional Tibetan life in the world. As such an inaccessible region, however, Mustang has also been preparing for the change: a highway connects China and Nepal will be built through the old land, ushering in a modern life to these desert-mountain villages.(more)
 

 

Syracuse University Magazine

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Syracuse University Magazine – ‘Vanishing Cultures’

Vanishing Cultures

August 1, 2012
By: Husna Haq

Taylor Weidman’s light bulb moment came in Lo Manthang, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mustang on the Tibetan Plateau in Nepal. In 2010, after traveling for 10 days to reach the medieval walled city, whose population numbers only in the hundreds, Weidman G’09, a photojournalist and documentary photographer, spoke with the people there and began hearing the same problems he had heard years earlier on an assignment for a nonprofit organization on a river island of Ghana. Due to a lack of job and educational opportunities, the youth of both cultures had departed to pursue livelihoods elsewhere, leaving only the village elders to witness a rapidly dwindling population—and with it, a unique language, culture, and traditional way of life. “I remember in Ghana wanting desperately to do something to help out, but it was only three years later, when I was in Upper Mustang, that I had a chance,” Weidman recalls. (more)
 

 

Asia Society

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Asia Society – ‘Vanishing Cultures Project Captures Threatened Tibetan Traditions’

The Vanishing Cultures Project Captures Threated Tibetan Traditions

February 22, 2012
By: Shreeya Singha

Led by photographer Taylor Weidman and writer Nina Wegner, the Vanishing Cultures Project aims to help indigenous groups preserve their culture through documentary journalism and advocacy.

Last year, the duo journeyed to a remote corner of Nepal, or the former Kingdom of Lo, to document the Loba people and the imminent and rapid changes they face from the construction of a highway that will connect Kathmandu and China — and, for the first time, open their traditional way of life to the world.

For centuries, the ethnically Tibetan people of Lo have scratched out a living in the desert mountains through subsistence agriculture and trade on the ancient Salt Route from Tibet to India. Due to political and geographical isolation, much of Loba culture and lifestyle remains unchanged from the 1500s. (more)
 

 

DailyCandy

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DailyCandy – ‘Support – The Vanishing Cultures Project’

Support – The Vanishing Cultures Project

January 19, 2012
By: Emily Warman

What: Indigenous lifestyle preservation. A photographer-journalist team travels the globe to document ways of life (such as that of the Mongolian pastoral herders) disappearing due to globalization.

Why: Support their efforts by pledging funds ($10-$1,000) and get beautiful prints, books, and more. Future subjects include the Moken of Southeast Asia and the Amazon tribes of Brazil.

Where: Online at vcproject.org.

 

 

 

NPR

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NPR – ‘Can Photos Save a Vanishing Culture?’

Can Photos Save a Vanishing Culture?

January 5, 2012
By: Becky Lettenberger

Taylor Weidman thinks so.

At the foot of the Himalayas is a region of Nepal that has been virtually untouched by modern times. “Mustang,” according to photographer Weidman, “is arguably the best-preserved example of traditional Tibetan life left in the world.”

Weidman received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2010 to document changes faced by Tibetan groups in Nepal. He spent several months negotiating for access to the Upper Mustang region and repeatedly visited the region over the course of his scholarship.

“The lifestyle [in Upper Mustang] was completely different, alien and remarkable,” Weidman writes in an email. “The people there still live very much as they did 500 years ago when the kingdom was founded.” (more)

 

 

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

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Syracuse University's Newhouse School – ‘Vanishing Cultures, Budding Careers’

Vanishing Cultures, Budding Careers

December 23, 2011
By: Mark Obbie

One year out of Newhouse’s graduate programs in photography and magazine, newspaper and online journalism, Taylor Weidman and Nina Wegner found themselves on a dream assignment: an extended stay in Nepal, reporting on one of the last remnants of a medieval Tibetan kingdom. Weidman was there on a prestigious Fulbright fellowship, while Wegner – fresh off two news reporting jobs – had joined him to launch her freelance career.

As they documented the effects of a new highway on the Loba people’s dying traditions, it dawned on them that this account of an indigenous culture was part of a much bigger story. So, rather than chalk up the experience as a one-time adventure, Weidman and Wegner turned that adventure into a full-time, globe-trotting occupation as journalists and entrepreneurs. (more)