Justin Bastien

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Peak Mind "Portraits of Compassion"

These portraits, taken on 4th of July, a joint celebration of compassion and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday, are in the spirit of illuminating the interconnected essence we all share. The campaign seeks to embody the messages of compassion, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence that is at the heart of both the Dalai Lama and Peak Mind's mission. It is hard to describe with words the positive energy surrounding the event, but these photos capture the passion invoked by the Dalai Lama's words and the inner presence of love in each of the subjects.


The concept for this shoot was to photograph each subject in a state of mediation, in a personal moment, in which they were focusing on compassion for the world around them. This is a very private and vulnerable place to be while having someone make a photograph of you. It was beautiful to watch people slowly become comfortable with the process and gently let themselves go in front of the camera. I used subtle lighting, negative space and dark tones to bring a since of intimacy, making the subjects feel as if they were emerging from another place, another world. Each photograph that truly resonates with the message of compassion the event represented so well.

When asked to sum up the event in one word, one subject, violinist Tim Fain answered "hope". I feel that this is captured in each portrait. He went on to describe how meditation has impacted his life saying, “In so many ways… with the hope being that through a deeper understanding of my own place in the world, I can use my powers for good.”

View more View more images from the Peak Mind Portraits of Compassion series.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.
— Dalai Lama
Justin Bastien