Cultures in Transition published in Issue 08

March 2019, Article by Johny Bernhard

Cultures in Transition: Spirit, Heart, Soul

Photographs by Oliver Klink

Forewords by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Geir Jordahl and Peter Finke

Book available at

Cultures in Transition explores the changes that people go through, the subtleties that make their life evolve, their spiritual guiding light. As a boy in Switzerland, Klink had dreams of becoming an explorer, to follow his deep curiosity and hunger to understand what makes people who they are. In 2001, he made his first trip to China with his wife and in-laws, who had left China in the 1970’s. Their stories were riveting and became the catalyst for Klink 30 trips in the next 15 years to five Asian Countries (Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, Myanmar). Hephotographed environmental portraits of the continuity between family, work, and spirituality. There was no separation, but peoples’ concerns about how ‘progress’ can create disconnection and alienation between themselves and their communities became more evident. This fluidity of life is at the core of Cultures in Transition.

Agriculture is a vital industry in China, employing over 300 million farmers. The government prides itself in providing food, shelter, and a good life to all its citizens. However, the reality is grim, as the younger generation would rather work in a factory then tend the land. Nevertheless, the elders work to keep the traditions alive.

With each subsequent trip to Asia, Klink’s explorations became more rustic and further away from the mainstream tourist locations. He watched people and started to feel their emotions about change, their worries, their acceptance. He witnessed them falling behind, trying to hold on to their comfort zones, their culture, and their spirituality. As opposed to a voyeuristic glimpse of another person’s life, the images articulate the subject’s true desires. His photography had evolved from process to artistry to authenticity.

Full article link (Page 40 – 44)