Barker a photographer from Worcestershire, tells BBC Hereford and
Worcester Rachel Willis about her work.
began my creative life as a painter, producing small, very internal,
mystical water-colours combined with my own poetry. I had my first
solo exhibition in London in 1986, and astonishingly it was a sell-out!
I returned to my home village of Alfrick in 1987 and was subsequently
inspired by the beauty of the local landscape, particularly the
Knapp nature reserve in Alfrick and Moccas Park in Herefordshire,
which informed my subject matter for a number of years."
My advice to local artists and photographers is to follow your
heart, rather than your ego
the early 1990s I was introduced to Tibetan refugee communities
in India and Nepal, and specifically to the remarkable central figure
of the exile community, H.H. the Dalai Lama. That began a love affair
and obsession with the Tibetans and their rich and magical Buddhist-centred
culture which I have persued via the medium of photography."
a while the photography took over from painting, and through the
specialist photo Library "Tibet Images" my photos found their way
into books, magazines, newspapers etc as well as being used by charities
and campaigning organisations. With the help of an Arts Council
Lottery grant I was able to create an exhibition of photographs
celebrating Tibetan refugee culture "FREE SPIRITS: Tibet in Exile"
which premiered at Combe Lodge Studio Gallery in Malvern in 1987.
It does seem to have been a successful exhibition as it has toured
to at least 14 venues in the U.K as well as showing twice in Bombay
in India. At the Midlands Arts Center in Birmingham I was told that
"FREE SPIRITS" had generated more positive audience feedback than
any other exhibition shown there since the center opened in the
2000, with the help of generous funding and moral support from the
Elmley Foundation, Worcester City Art Gallery, visionary local sponsors
and private individuals, I started a new project photographing Tibetan
nomads in eastern Tibet. On two separate trips to Tibet I was privileged
to stay with and photograph the lives of two nomad families, one of
whom I found via the internet! They are truly remarkable people wildly
earthy, joyous, open hearted and unspoiled. They gave me a great deal
and I feel there is much to learn from them. I hope my pictures of
them touch peoples hearts and inspire a new respect for these people
and their unique and threatened holistic way of life."
LIVES by Diane Barker
new exhibition on the nomads, called "DROKPA: people of the Solitudes",
premiered at Worcester City Art Gallery last winter and will be
touring the UK for some time to come we hope. Locally it will show
at Kidderminster Library Gallery this December."
LIVES by Diane Barker
me the success of my work is related to how much I can capture the
inner wealth, beauty and dignity of the people I photograph and
then to touch people’s hearts with the results. I try to get out
of the way of my work as much as I can and let the soul of the subject
shine through. Ultimately for me creative work is a celebration
and a meditation."
present I’m working on a small book of photos and text about Tibetan
Prayer Flags for a British book packaging company in London. With
luck it will appear in time for Christmas, each book accompanied
by a set of prayer flags! I’m also working on a photo feature about
Tibetan nomads for "Caduceus" Magazine, and a photo essay of my
work is due to appear in the May/June issue of "Resurgence" Magazine."
continue to be inspired by the nomads of Tibet and hope eventually
to produce a photo book celebrating their lifestyle. I envisage
many more trips to eastern Tibet!"
advice to local artists and photographers is to follow your heart,
rather than your ego, in your work – if you really believe in what
you do its miraculous how help and support can come. Its important
to trust that what truly inspires you is right for you, and not to
be swayed by fickle visual art fashions or the expectations and demands