Williamson Film Collection: Sera, Tibet.

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Sera, Tibet.

Filmed by Frederick Williamson in 1935.

excerpts from Margaret Williamson's narrative:

'One of Tsarong’s hobbies - and a very unusual one in Lhasa at that time - was photography, and he had a collection of cameras. On one occasion when we were sitting at his house, while the men talked in the vast sitting-room, the ladies took me to his office to show me his photograph albums. Later we played an original version of Snakes and Ladders that he had devised himself. There were entertainments too, usually Tibetan music and dancing.' (page 109)

'We spent at least two evenings a week working on our cinema films and photographs. The films needed much editing as a lot of the footage was either under- or over-exposed. To do this we had to put in a special request for the electricity supply to be left on at full power until midnight. In those days electricity was generated from a small flume in Gangtok and, not being very powerful, current was switched down at 10:30 p.m. We mounted our many still photographs in great leather-bound albums, which are a complete pictorial record of our life and travels together. Derrick was a good photographer. He noted down every snap in a series of small notebooks, so it was easy to trace any negative that might be required. Of all Derrick’s many photographs…another photograph which we particularly treasured was one Derrick had taken of the Dalai Lama in the gardens of the Chense Lingka, the only informal photograph ever taken of the 13th Dalai Lama.' (page 143-144)

'Later we were shown films on His Holiness’s projector which Captain Tennant, who had considerable technical expertise, had been able to put into good running order. The first film was of the Panchen Lama and had been taken in China and presented to His Holiness by the exiled Lama's representatives. Then we showed some of our own films, including footage shot in Lhasa which had been down to Calcutta for processing. For the viewing His Holiness got down from his throne and sat on chairs with us, with Kunphel-la the picture of filial devotion at his feet.' (page 126)