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Elusive Paradise: Michael Yamashita’s Shangri-La (along the tea road to Lhasa)

Join National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita for a rare and fast-disappearing view of Tibet through images from his new book, Shangri-La. His presentation captures the essence of the elusive and mythical paradise of Shangri-la as imagined in James Hilton’s elegant and moving novel, Lost Horizon, as well as the often harsh reality of the land that inspired it. Yamashita’s work embodies both the rich, Tibetan culture as well as the rapidly changing face of the area since the Chinese invasion in 1950.

His photographs, taken over a period of fifteen years, may well be among the last images of Tibet to be captured by a foreigner, as Tibetan travel for non-Chinese has been radically curtailed by the Chinese authorities. Yamashita’s work offers a record of a way of life that has flourished in the rarefied heights of the Himalayas for centuries but is now threatened with extinction; it is a chance to see this world before the legends and mysteries of the Tea Horse Road disappear into the Tibetan mist.

Michael Yamashita was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, in suburban New York City. He graduated from Connecticut’s Wesleyan University in 1971 with a degree in Asian studies and went on to spend seven years in Asia. Since then, Yamashita’s career has combined his two passions-photography and travel.

A regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine since 1979, his area of concentration is Asia, though he has photographed wide-ranging locations throughout Africa, Europe and North and South America. Fluent in Japanese, he has also extensively covered Japan, the country of his grandparents. Yamashita's particular specialty has been following the "paths" of both man and landscape, resulting in stories on Marco Polo, the Japanese poet Basho, the Chinese explorer Zheng He, the Mekong River, the Great Wall, and now Shangri-La and the Road to Lhasa.

Yamashita is also a filmmaker. His first film, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, documented his journey retracing Marco Polo’s route to China. His second film, which aired on the National Geographic Channel worldwide, The Ghost Fleet, explored the legacy of legendary Chinese admiral and explorer, Zheng He, and won awards at the New York International Film Festival and the New Zealand Documentary Film Festival.

Also noted as a teacher of photography in workshops around the world, Yamashita was named a De Tao Master of the De Tao Master Academy of Shanghai, China in 2011.

Date: 02/28/13

Time: 6PM Check In and Reception, 7PM Dinner Starts

Location: New York City Headquarters, 46 East 70th St., New York, NY

Member Ticket Price: $65

Guest Ticket Price: $70

Reservation Notes:

Dinners are open to Members and their guests.
Non-members are welcome to attend as nominal guests of Daryl Hawk MN’98, organizing chair of The Explorers Club Members Dinners.
To make a reservation please email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call the Club at 212-628-8383

Cancellation/”No Show” Policy:

* If a reservation is canceled after Monday, February 25th there will be No Refund of the ticket price.
* There are no refunds for a “No Show” to a catered event.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste