Assignments, DHARAMSHALA, PHOTOGRAPHY

Miss Tibet 2011

NO EVENT GENERATES AS MUCH INTERNATIONAL PRESS IN McLEODGANJ AS THE MISS TIBET CONTEST,  A SMALL TOWN BEAUTY PAGEANT WITH A BIG FOLLOWING. THIS YEAR, SIX TIBETANS COMPETED FOR THE CROWN.
Tenzin Yangkyi, a 17-year-old Tibetan from Zurich, Switzerland waves to the crowd after winning the Miss Tibet 2011 beauty pageant in Dharamshala, India, Sunday, June 5, 2011. She was adjudged winner among six participants in a late-night finale attended by more than a thousand Tibetan exiles. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

Chemi Lhazom performs a traditional Tibetan dance during the talent round of the Miss Tibet 2011 beauty pageant in Dharamshala, India, Saturday, June 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

The competition always starts with the swimsuit round, where a small crowd of onlookers gathers to cheer on the contestants. This year the event was held in the open near a mountain stream. The setting was perfect for pictures and I got a few pictures for the photo package I was working on for AP.  The talent round was inside a stuffy hall at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in McLeodganj. I spent most of my time backstage photographing the nervousness and excitement that filled the room. The crowd and the contestants had most fun when the dance numbers, mostly to a raunchy Bollywood tune, started. Contestants who looked very nervous saying a few lines on stage minutes before were transformed into talented, carefree dancers. The main picture is of spirited Chime Lhazom performing a medley.

A couple of thousand Tibetans, mixed with a few visitors, cheered on during the finale night at TIPA. The show started late as the audio system developed some problems. It finally began with an introduction by the director Lobsang Wangyal dressed in a showy silver and white suit, pictured left greeting the crowd. The contestants walked on the ramp, danced, answered questions, posed for pictures and finally stood patiently waiting for the results. Tenzin Yangkyi, a 17-year-old Tibetan from Zurich, Switzerland, won the crown and made the cover for this magazine. She also walked away with a prize of Rs 100,000.  And I had my pictures.  Ashwini Bhatia

Technique: Shot in colour on Canon 7D, converted to black and white using Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro software.

Tenzin Khecheo, left, and Tenzin Yangkyi are reflected in a mirror as they get ready for the swimsuit round of the Miss Tibet 2011 beauty pageant in Dharamshala, India, Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

Lobsang Wangyal, director of the Miss Tibet beauty pageants greets the crowd on the night of the finale of the 2011 pageant in Dharamshala, India, Sunday, June 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

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About moonpeak

Moonpeak is an online and print magazine published in McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India. It features articles and interviews about travel, photography and books, with a focus on South Asia and Tibet. The magazine is based at Moonpeak cafe, restaurant and gallery on Temple Road, McLeodganj.

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