eyes of compassion

in the service of sight

I am sitting in Brian Harris's office at the Seva Society in Vancouver, BC, on an early Saturday morning when most people are still in bed, but Brian can't sleep; there is too much to do...

A little over a year ago I met Brian Harris for the first time. After reading an article about Brian and his photography for Seva in this magazine (ascent, spring 2001), I knew I had to meet this man. I contacted Seva, an organization committed to service and the development of sight restoration programs in developing countries, and before I knew it I was in Vancouver working with Brian for three weeks on a digital multimedia show that he had just started putting together. Back in his office a year later, I am watching a private viewing of the end result just a few days before it goes on the road. I feel I've come full circle.

His show is a monument of over 15 years of work, all of which he has dedicated to Seva Canada's sight-care projects in Asia. As I listen to Brian talk his way through the beautiful, honest images, with Tibetan voices chanting in the background, I know why I admire this man so much. For Brian, traveling and photographing in the Himalayas is like coming home. The people of the Himalayas teach him an important lesson: They know who they are; they look straight into his camera with ease and honesty; they have nothing to prove because they feel solid and relaxed in their own selves . The identity that we in the West are struggling to find in our everyday life, the Himalayans have found through their traditional beliefs and spiritual practices. Looking into the eyes of these traditional people, Brian not only finds his way into their hearts and the hearts of all great traditions, he finds a way into the centre of his own being as well.

"Seva (pronounced 'Say-va') is the Sanskrit word for 'service' and reflects our commitment to serve through projects and partnerships around the world that promote the sustainable development of blindness prevention and sight restoration programs in developing countries. The Seva Canada Society works to prevent and relieve suffering and generate meaningful change through compassionate action." Seva Canada Society www.seva.ca

Due to sell-out shows in the fall of 2002, Brian Harris' Himalayan Visions Tour will be returning to cities across Canada in 2003.

For show preview and schedule: www.seva.ca/tour G.A.P. Adventures is arranging a Brian Harrisled trip to Tibet in April 2003.
1-800-465-5600, www.GAPadventures.com

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