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Notes on the Lama Yeshe Portrait Gallery












A little bit about Lama Yeshe

So much has been written about Lama Yeshe, the much beloved Tibetan Buddhist teacher and meditation master, that I won't go into much detail here. Aside from having thousands of students all over the globe, Lama Yeshe, along with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, established a worldwide network of spiritual centers which are part of The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. (There are two excellent websites which tell all about them: the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and FPMT.)

These archival portraits exude Lama Yeshe's joyful and compassionate presence, and are appropriate for spiritual practice (Guru Yoga) or simply as an inspiring reminder of this great teacher and spiritual friend. 


About the Prints and Inks

The original photos and slides of Lama Yeshe were scanned, digitally retouched and restored. Then each print order is custom rendered using an Epson printer with the archival Ultrachrome K3 pigmented ink series. When printed onto a 100% cotton rag, acid-free and lignin-free paper such as Moab Entrada Natural (see note below), the result is a museum grade print.

This type of print and ink combination if properly framed is rated by Wilhelm Imaging Research to have a print display permanence of well over 150 years. In comparison, standard photos, even when printed on the best RC papers (for example, Kodak Edge series) are only rated to be fade resistant for around 22 years in controlled display conditions.

About the Paper and
Protective Spray

We have recently upgraded to an even finer paper: Moab Entrada Rag Natural. This award-winning 100% cotton smooth fine art paper helps bring these visions of Lama Yeshe to print through superb ink handling and sharpness. Entrada is an archival acid- and lignin-free paper with an expanded color gamut, natural contrast and high ink load, as well as being free of any artificial optical brighteners. When rendered with the archival inks we use, these prints will last for generations.

The print is then sprayed with Desert Varnish, a protective lacquer-based spray which guards the prints from moisture, UV light, humidity, atmospheric contaminants, scuffing and fingerprints. This greatly extends image life without affecting the velvety matte surface. Lacquer-based prays like Desert Varnish have been tested by Wilhelm Imaging Research, and have been found to increase display permanence ratings significantly, in some cases almost doubling them.

A Note on Photo Restoration

All of these images needed a certain amount of attention to make them shine. For some of them, this meant subtle adjustments to the color balance and image sharpness, for others it meant a radical overhaul in which the background was replaced or recreated entirely.

The intention of course was to keep a natural feeling in the composition, and to let the spirit of the original photo of Lama Yeshe reveal itself. Hopefully this is how it appears to the viewer. If you are interested in seeing how these images were retouched or would like to know about my retouching and restoration services, please go the the David Zinn website.



Freedom and Joy

I did not have the good fortune to meet or personally receive teachings from Lama Yeshe during the years these photos were taken, but I certainly feel as though I meet him again and again as I continue to work with these images. I feel he is one of those unique spiritual teachers whose presence is conveyed quite directly through his photographs ~ his compassion, his wakefulness, and his deep sense of humor.

Though the Tibetan Vajrayana path which he presented is one requiring great energy and discipline, when one looks at his portraits one can sense the fruits of the practice in the form of profound freedom and joy. And it is my sincere hope that that joy is shared with those who view the prints of this great spiritual teacher.




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