Lama Chuck Stanford is an ordained Lama within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His 25 years of study to learn from great teachers have included travel abroad to places like Dharamsala, India, where he received teachings from both H.H. Dalai Lama, as well as Golok, Tibet where he received teachings from one of his root teachers. Lama Chuck enjoys making trips to these areas and other monasteries around the world because of their history and people, both of which have taught him so much.
Even before he started practicing meditation and studying Buddhism, Lama Chuck had found much joy in photography. He first started with black and white photography around the age of ten, ordering equipment and using his parents’ closet as his dark room. More recently he’s delved into digital photography, impressed by the detail and number of photos digital can capture.
The travels to India and Tibet, among other locations, have allowed Lama Chuck to experience both breathtaking sights and incredible people firsthand. One of the most memorable experiences was when Lama Chuck and his wife were invited to the opening of a new temple in India by one of his root teachers, H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche. The temple, which only holds about 100 people, was dedicated by the Dalai Lama. A beautiful statue was built in the temple of Padmasambhava, an Indian saint who brought Buddhism to Tibet. Lama Chuck had seen the temple years prior when construction had just started, but the finished product stunned even the Dalai Lama himself.
The trips have also provided him with the opportunity to further his passion for photography by documenting the locations and people he encounters throughout his journeys. One of Lama Chuck’s favorite types of photos is portraits, particularly of people’s faces. Faces can tell us so much, they are the window to someone’s soul. Subjects’ eyes, expressions and wrinkles all tell a story, and he seeks to capture these elements in photography.