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Talk: Stories from the Buddhist Archive of Photography in Luang Prabang by Dr Khamvone Boulyaphonh, Director, Buddhist Archive of Photography

29 Jan 2019, Tue 07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

The Buddhist Archive of Photography in Luang Prabang, Laos, has gathered over 35,000 photographs either taken or collected by monks since 1890. The photographs have recently been digitised and catalogued, using innovative methodologies attentive to climatic, cultural, and religious circumstances: the Archive is a fascinating instance of 21st-century contemporary practice, as much as it is a unique collection of 19th and 20th-century modern photographs. In this talk, Director of the Buddhist Archive of Photography, Dr Khamvone Boulyaphonh, will offer insight on the background and significance of the Buddhist Archive, share selected highlights from its collection, and detail the organisation’s ongoing activities in Luang Prabang and internationally.

Introduced and moderated by Dr Roger Nelson (Australia/Singapore), art historian and curator specialising in modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia, and currently Postdoctoral Fellow at Nanyang Technological University (September 2017–January 2019).




Dr Khamvone Boulyaphonh (Laos) is Director of the Buddhist Archive of Photography, which was founded in 2005 by the late Most Venerable Pha Khamchan Virachitta Maha Thera (1920–2007) and German photographer Hans Georg Berger. Dr Khamvone holds a PhD from the Asia-Africa Institute at Hamburg University, Germany, where he also participated in the Lao Sangha and Modernityproject, led by historian Dr Volker Grabowsky. Dr Khamvone has published extensively on subjects related to Lao Buddhism and photography. He has been involved in the Buddhist Archive of Photography since its inception in 2005, having previously been a monk and disciple for 15 years of the Archive’s Co-founder, the late Pha Khamchan.


A public programme of And in the Chapel and in the Temples: research in progress by Buddhist Archive of Photography and Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho.


Image caption: A Buddhist temple destroyed by American bombing, 1960s. Photographer unknown; collected by the late Pha Khamfan Silasangvaro (1901–1987). Silver gelatin DOP, collection of Vat Khili, Luang Prabang. Courtesy Buddhist Archive of Photography.