For over thirty years, Chris Rainier has been in search of the meaning of the mask. What began as a thorough visual photographic documentation of the traditional mask rituals of New Guinea developed into a voyage of discovery that took him around the world photographing traditional masks and mask traditions – from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of South America, from the savannahs of West Africa to the ghats of India and the high Himalayan mountain monasteries of Tibet and Bhutan, from “Day of the Dead” festivals in Mexico to the lands of the First Nation tribes of North America and from the temples of Sri Lanka and Bali to the Alpine villages of modern Europe. Edited from thousands of hours of video and still images, Mask is one of the most definitive documentations of traditional masks as they are still danced within the spiritual realm of today’s enduring Indigenous cultures.
Chris Rainier is a master at creating powerful images that document endangered traditional cultures and rituals still alive today. His images propel us to the edge of the map, illuminating societies vulnerable to powerful changes unfolding in the 21st Century. Rainier was a former photographic assistant to Ansel Adams, the noted landscape photographer and conservationist. For over twenty years, Rainier has been a National Geographic Fellow, Explorer and photographer, co-directing a number of programs at the Society focused on documenting endangered traditional languages and knowledge. He is the Director of The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation and is a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society in London.
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