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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Fashion photographer embraces Buddhism

May 8, 2009

By Hermia Lin
Taiwan News, Staff Reporter
2009-05-07 01:25 AM    

Fashion photographer Clive Arrowsmith has all the qualities that
professional photographers share - he is passionate about his job, he is
creative and sensitive, and he has a seemingly endless energy supply.
The minute you begin talking with him, you will instantly feel those

But Arrowsmith is no easy match, in terms of both professional career
and love life stories.

The North Wales-born celebrity snapper has taken pictures of everyone
from David Bowie to the Dalai Lama. He shared a flat with Paul McCartney
when the Beatles were still called The Quarrymen.

Celebrity pictures

The photographer, who started his career as a painter, was with VOGUE
for more than a decade, taking celebrity pictures in the United Kingdom,
the United States, and France in the 1980s. He was married four times.

He has been taking shots for the "T for Tibet" campaign which was
launched last year, and says he believes kindness is strong and sure in
the end, and slowly things will change.

"T for Tibet" is a campaign organized by Free Tibet which features
celebrities making a "T" shape with their hands to show their support in
freeing Tibet. "I love women more than men. I can't remember how many
models were there before. I live in the moment, and the past is dead. I
used to respond too much to emotions like love, want, need, give me,
give me, and give me. I am practicing Buddhism to get control of
myself," the fashion photographer said in an interview with the Taiwan
News on Monday.

Arrowsmith said he is very attracted to Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan
Buddhism, and Japanese Zen.

But before he was introduced to Buddhism, he used to drink heavily. "I
drank a bottle of vodka everyday. It was mad. It's the social parties
all the time. My son was about one and a half years old at that time. I
saw him, and I just stopped one day. It's like a miracle."

The photographer has been practicing Buddhism for 22 years. He said
everyday he would begin meditation in the early morning or late at night
when he finishes shooting. "Getting to know yourself is like rubbing
away a mountain with a silk handkerchief. It takes a long time," he added.

Buddhism teacher

Arrowsmith's Buddhism teacher is a Tibetan Lama, who happens to be a
close associate with Tibetan's spiritual leader. The photographer
reminisced about the first time (about 20 years ago) he met with His
Holiness the Dalai Lama.

"I did not say anything, I was too shy. I was also very worried that
there would be a lot of reflections because His Holiness wears
eyeglasses. But when His Holiness sat down for shooting, there was no

The photographer said he felt like he had known Dalai Lama for a long
time when they first met. "The experience was just normal. It's like
when I was shooting for Tibetan people (for 'T for Tibet' campaign).
It's the same for every one. Tibetan people are sweet."

For the 67-year-old Arrowsmith, Buddhism is the most wonderful thing.
But there is another very important thing for the senior photographer -
work, he said.

"Work is everything. It's like meditation. When I take a picture, it's
the focus, the concentration. I do costume, make up, hair, for the
models, then I copy it with beautiful light. I with a camera, to copy
the moment."

Arrowsmith said he does not do landscape photography, because the view
is already there. He's also less interested in going to war zones to
take photographs. When asked what the most fascinating thing is in being
a fashion photographer, he does not hesitate for a second but answers,
"it's new every time."
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