Few know the Himalayas as well as Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, a French humanitarian who is also a close confidante of the Dalai Lama.

Matthieu Ricard has lived in Tibet for half a century, having turned his back on Parisian life when he was just a student, studying molecular genetics. The son of philosopher Jean-François Revel, he became a celebrity in his native country in 1997 after co-authoring “The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life” with his father: the first of a series of dialogues between East and West in an effort to build bridges between spirituality and science.

But this autumn in Monaco, it is not the spiritual leader that is being celebrated, but rather the photographer, with a beautiful exhibition of a hundred or so images of the place Ricard gladly calls home.

Matthieu Ricard Half a Century in the HimalayasInspired by the likes of Henri-Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Ernst Haas and Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Ricard has managed to create “fleeting and eternal images” that capture the beauty and multiple facets of a mysterious land, and describe his personal and extraordinary journey.

Over the years, these pictures have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the world and have been published in magazines such as National Geographic France and Terre Sauvage.

A hymn to beauty…that’s how I think of my humble photographic work. During the fifty years I have spent in the Himalayas, I have been very fortunate to live among those great Tibetan masters,” says the 71 year old spiritual leader. “I have also been able to experience the daily life of the Himalayan people, the intimacy of the monasteries, the immensity of the Tibetan high plateau, the magnificence of the Nepalese mountains and the serenity of the Bhutanese valleys”.

That may just be the recipe for happiness! A few years ago, the Buddhist monk was conferred with the title of “happiest man in the world”, after participating in a 12-year study on meditation and compassion led by neuroscientist Richard Davidson, from the University of Wisconsin.

Half a Century in the Himalayas: a Hymn to Beauty” runs until 9th November at the Salle d’Exposition (4 Quai Antoine Ier). Open Tuesday to Sunday from 1pm to 7pm.

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Salle d’Exposition
4, quai Antoine Ier
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 83 03

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Lead image by Jon Schmidt [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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