Monk with a Camera (2014)
By Dan Clendenin
Nick Vreeland was born in Switzerland, where his father was a diplomat. When he was thirteen, he moved to the United States to attend boarding school at Groton. His grandmother, Diana Vreeland, was the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, so when Nick wanted to study photography, she made the requisite connections. This documentary film tells the story of how in 1985 this "very commited dandy" became a Tibetan Buddhist monk at the 10th-century Rato Dratsang Monastery in India. Vreeland lived there for thirteen years and eventually became its abbot. It's an interesting story about a person of privilege who seeks the path of detachment and renunciation. In a touching remark at the end of the film, his father says, "it was a special time for me when people stopped identifying me as the son of Diana and, instead, the father of Nick." Today Vreeland divides his time between The Tibet Center in New York City and Rato Dratsang in India. I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.