Whirling Monks


whirling monks

A Limited Edition Portfolio
Thoughts Over


Luigi Fieni

The portfolio was shot in Buli Lhakhang in Bumthang, a small region of Bhutan, in 2005.

This series of photographs was essentially the beginning of my blurry photography. The Tshechu Festival was being performed in the temple where I was leading the conservation work with a local team.

While taking the usual static photos I was completely dissatisfied with the results because I couldn't manage to capture the energy as well as the emotional power that this kind of dances usually produces.

So, I would say spontaneously, I set a low shutter speed and I started moving the camera while shooting. By following the subject, rotating the camera, zooming and panning at the same time while pressing the shutter the photos took a different dimension. To me they were, and they still are, more communicative than a perfectly sharp image.


Bhutan’s masked dance festivals, called Tsechus, date back several centuries. At that time the monks were both the civil and religious authorities, and the dances were used to educate illiterates about their history and religion. These dances have been passed on from one generation to the next, remaining virtually unchanged from their origins.

Each district in the kingdom hosts a festival once a year on dates determined by the lunar calendar. Monks as well as laymen dressed in brilliant costumes and wearing masks of both wrathful as well as peaceful deities, re-enact the legends and history of Buddhism in Bhutan.

They are performed to bless onlookers and to teach them the Buddhist dharma in order to protect them from misfortune and to exorcise all evil. Moreover, it is believed that merit is gained by attending this religious festival.


Archival Prints are available in the following LE sizes:

40 by 60 cm ( ~16 by 24 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
60 by 90 cm ( ~24 by 36 in ) : Limited Edition of 10 + 1 AP
80 by 120 cm ( ~32 by 48 in ) : Limited Edition of 5 + 1 AP