Gyalyum Kunzang Dechen Tsomo Namgyal

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Gyalyum Kunzang Dechen Tsomo Namgyal (1906-1987) was the queen mother of Sikkim, who made regular trips to Tibet, approximately every six years or so, in order to see her relatives. She was a Tibetan from Lhasa, from the Rangsha family, one of the Six Clans. On one of her journeys to Central Tibet, in 1935 or 1936, she took many pictures herself with an Agfa camera she had brought with her. This trip was a pilgrimage. On her 1942 journey she took her daughter (b. 1937) with her. The Queen Mother went again in 1950. All her pictures of Central Tibet however are from the 1935 journey because later she didn’t go on pilgrimage. She didn’t take many pictures of Lhasa because she was from there. Most pictures she took in Lhasa were of relatives on the roofs, but she took no photos of the major sites, such as the Potala or Jokhang for example. However, she took the famous photo of the Looks Like Me statue in Samyé before the Guru Rinpoche statue was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.

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