With the world of New York’s elite at his fingertips, Nicholas Vreeland instead chose the life of a Buddhist monk but continued his passion for photography.
When Nicholas Vreeland was born, his grandmother was the editor of Vogue, and the Vreeland family name was opening doors for his entire life. With the world open to him, he spent a lot of time being wined and dined with the most elite families in New York. However, one day his entire life changed: he shaved off his hair, got rid of all his worldly possessions, and decided to become a Buddhist monk. He moved to Tibet, and ever since then he has been an inspiration to thousands of people across the world.
As a Buddhist monk, Nicholas Vreeland has still managed to challenge people and encourage them. He has ghostwritten two books for the Dalai Lama, and he is in charge of the Rato Dratsang, making him the very first ever Western abbot in the Buddhist religion. When Nicholas Vreeland still lived in the world of fashion and the social elites, he was an avid photographer who was fascinated with taking photographs of people on the edge of society. Now that he is a Buddhist monk, he has continued to explore the world with his camera.
A new film, Monk with a Camera documents his transformation from socialite to monk and follows his adventurous life. In the film, Nicholas Vreeland explains that when he first became a monk he gave up his camera and put it in a box that he called “Pandora’s Box.” It was many years before he felt that he could take up photography with his camera again without getting drawn back too much into the material world. Since then, he has raised $400, 000 to rebuild his monastery and has been encouraged personally by the Dalai Lama to continue with his camera skills. Nicholas Vreeland eventually gained the acceptance of his family for his choice to become a monk, and he now looks forward to continuing his camera skills.