A Tibetan Couple’s Wedding Photos Go Viral in China
So in recent weeks a photo collection of Tibetan newlyweds Gerong Phuntsok and Dawa Drolma has been going viral across China, and now has begun to trickle out into India and Europe as well. Apparently these photos basically blew up on WeChat, and have been circulating heavily on Weibo, the two major social networking sites in China. Following what is apparently a popular trend for young couples in China right now–posing for elaborate photos in highly stylized scenes–Phuntsok and Drolma offered their own take on this trend.
“I think we found an echo with other web users,” Phuntsok says. “As we fight for our dreams, some of us get lost. So we wanted to say with the photos: stick to your beliefs.”
The result is a rich series of photos of them posing in everything from high modern urban scenes (in one they are in an orange Lamborghini) to rural Tibetan scenes (in a few they look like highland traders complete with cloth tents and yak herds). You can see an example of both below.
I couldn’t help as I went through the photos wondering which parts of those photos are really them, and which are just part of the performance they put on while taking the photos? I’m sure there is a ton of interesting discussion that could be had about what these photos can tell us, not only about young Tibetans living in China, but also about the current Chinese imaginary of those in their late 20s to early 40s, and the tension that Phuntsok alludes to in some of the interviews about the dangers of losing your cultural identity in the race to embrace the modern industrial world and urban identities, which in his and others view, appear to be read as in opposition to (or at least in tension with) certain notions of tradition and cultural identity.