John Stratton has contributed articles on singing to The Record Collector, Opera Quarterly, and the British Institute of Recorded Sound. For twenty-five years he was a teacher of philosophy at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
This beautiful, large-format book seeks to show Tibet, its landscape, and the way of life of the people indigenous to it. Such has not always been the effect of the picture books that have appeared since Tibet opened up to the outside world around 1980. In many of these the Tibetans have been represented as anachronistic remnants of an obsolete exotic culture set amidst forbiddingly high snow-capped mountains, as if this alone had preserved their strange world. Tibet: Journey into a Still Land tries to show the Tibetans as very human people integrated with a very beautiful if in some ways harsh landscape. In taking these photographs, John Stratton had in mind the photographs that first stirred his interest in Tibet: those of Cutting, Dolan, and Ilia Tolstoy that appeared in National Geographic in the mid-1940s: pictures that make you want to look around in them not merely for a fanciful or oddly colourful world, but for a real people living in a real place, willing to shoulder hard work and even adversity, and able to experience real joy in their lives. The nobility of the earlier photographs was perhaps enhanced by the fact that they were in black and white. The stunning colour in the ninety-eight vivid scenes presented in this book is in harmony with the spirit of the earlier photographs. In the period when Stratton’s images were taken, Tibetans seemed visibly more optimistic than, perhaps, can be hoped for at the present.