Tricycle‘s Fall 2012 issue features the stunning, black-and-white photos of Nicholas Vreeland: a monk, professional photographer, and newly-appointed abbot of Rato Dratsang monastery. (He also happens to be the grandson of fashion icon Diana Vreeland.) The first Westerner to be appointed abbot of a Tibetan monastery, H.H. the Dalai Lama told him upon his appointment that “his special duty was to be a bridge between the Tibetan tradition and the Western world.” Born to diplomat parents in Geneva, Switzerland, and subsequently dividing his childhood among Germany, Morocco, and the United States, Vreeland is a unique bridge, indeed.

In 2010, “Photos for Rato,” a worldwide exhibition of Vreeland’s photographs, helped to fund the $500,000 reconstruction of Rato Dratsang monastery, a Tibetan monastery founded in the 14th century, currently being rebuilt in the south Indian state of Karnataka. In March 2012, Vreeland was appointed abbot of Rato Dratsang.

You can see a portfolio of Vreeland’s photographs in Tricycle here or peruse Vreeland’s website here.

—Emma Varvaloucas

One of Nicholas Vreeland's photos of H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Image: One of Nicholas Vreeland’s photos of H.H. the Dalai Lama.

Where are you from originally? I was born in Geneva. Then my family went to Berlin, which was at that time in the middle of East Germany. And then we went to Bonn, which was the capital of West Germany, and then to Morocco. And then we came to live in America when I was 13. So, an honest answer to where do you come from is “all of the above.”

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