The title ‘Dyal Thak’ means mutual ties, connection, or “a common thread” in Tibetan. It is a photographic series capturing intimate moments in the life of a nomadic community as seen through the sensitive eyes of the photographer Kin Coedel.
When he arrived in China in 2020, COVID was raging around the world. This would have made things difficult for any persistent creative. However, Kin with his Chinese background was able to travel relatively hassle-free.
The process of taking images in remote locations was more complicated than a simple photo shoot. With the support of local guides, Kin was able to organize regular expeditions to the far west: Tibet, Qinghai, and Gansu. It was crucial for him to gain the trust of the nomadic families, and experienced local rangers, who speak Mandarin in addition to Tibetan dialects. They helped the photographer reach remote villages, get close to native communities, and introduce him to the communal religious leaders, which was very important to gain access to the tight-knit artisan families.
With the support of Atelier Norlha, Kin settled in a village called Ritoma on the Tibetan plateau, with a community that produces yak wool in a traditional and sustainable way. The resulting series is an intimate and sensitive portrait of the place and its people.
“For months I photographed a community of generational weavers, spinners, and felters, most of them extremely skillful women, handcrafting beautiful textiles using traditional Tibetan knowledge and techniques. Everywhere I went, local families were so embracing and caring, making sure I am always fed and kept warm.” Kin recalls. Yet working in the highest region of the world came at a price. Altitude sickness put him in the hospital three times. As he tells the story, he points out that the beauty of nature can be beguiling at the same time.
Kin’s photographs beautifully reflect the true spirit of the nomadic lifestyle and the intimate atmosphere of the community. The families cultivating its heritage of weaving craftsmanship, dominated by the power of the surrounding wildlife make this photographic series a timeless tale of humanity.
‘Dyal Thak’ is going to be exhibited during PhotoVogue Festival from 17th to 20th November 2022 in Milan.