Interview: Sisse Brimberg – The last real kingdom

Meet the Better Moments experts. Sisse Brimberg has been a National Geographic photographer for over three decades. There is hardly a place between the North and South Pole that she hasn’t visited. But Bhutan – the last real kingdom in Asia – holds a special place in her heart.

Man in a tiny boat on the stormy sea
Her work for National Geographic has taken Sisse around the world. | Photo Sisse Brimberg.

A focus on cultural and historical subjects

Sisse Brimberg has been a National Geographic con­tributing photographer since she was in her twenties, which is when she met her late husband, photographer Cotton Coulson. At that time, the couple often traveled in opposite di­rections spanning the globe on photo assignments for the Magazine. Sisse focused her energies on cultural and historical subjects that had interested her since child­hood while growing up north of Copenhagen. Some of her favorite feature stories took her back to Scandinavia, “The Vikings”, “Denmark”, “Hans Christian Anders­en”, “Hanseatic League”, just to name a few.

Good travel photography is all about conveying your emotional response to being some place new.

Sisse Brimberg

An amazing career

When we asked Sisse for advice based on her amazing career, she replied, “The images have to convey details, context, and people that can provide a contextual sense of being in this very special place. It’s also important to be very familiar with your equipment, keep your gear simple, and don’t run out and buy something the day before departure.”

Tiger's Nest in Bhutan is build in a rock
Bhutan’s famous monastery Tiger’s Nest. | Photo Sisse Brimberg

One of the most desirable locations

In 2004, while living in Paris, Sisse and Cotton made a life-changing decision; to work together as a creative couple. They formed their company, and spent a good part of the year traveling to remote and exotic locations shooting for National Geographic Traveler, and teach­ing photography.

In association with National Geographic Nordic, they launched an exclusive photo workshop pro­gram with Better Moments. The led the workshop to Bhutan, one of the most desirable locations to visit today for photographers and film­makers.

Bhutan is much like Tibet sixty years ago – unspoiled and innocent with a strong band of autonomy and dignity – the last real kingdom in Asia.

Sisse Brimberg
A cild monk in a colorful robe
Visiting a monastery in Bhutan. | Photo Sisse Brimberg.

The last real kingdom of Asia

“Bhutan had been on the top of my travel ‘wish list’ for a long time,” Sisse tells. “From my point of view, Bhutan is the last country in Asia that has maintained its personal culture, histo­ry and religion. The landscapes are unique and beauti­ful and the people are open and genuinely welcome you with a smile. Bhutan is much like Tibet was sixty years ago – unspoiled and innocent with a strong band of autonomy and dignity – the last real kingdom in Asia.”

A Bhutanese woman applies traditional face paint
A Bhutanese woman applies traditional face paint. | Photo Sisse Brimberg

Bhutanese hospitality is one of a kind

Sisse only has good memories about her trips to Bhutan with Better Moments. “We were welcomed with open arms anywhere we went. The highlight for me was when out local guide invited us into his home.” The guide’s wife showed the workshop group how to cook traditional Bhutanese dishes that all were absolutely delicious. This unique experience is what Better Moments’ workshops are – next to photography – all about: truely experiencing a foreign country and culture by spend time with the locals.

Next Bhutan Workshop: 28 October – 4 November 2021. More information on the workshop page.

Masked dancer celebrates in Bhutan
A masked dancer at a traditional celebration in Bhutan. | Photo Sisse Brimberg.

Sisse Brimberg and National Geographic

Would you like to hear more about Sisse’s travels around the world? Sisse hosted one of our Better Moments webinars and talked about her work for National Geographic. Click below to watch the recording.

Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you won’t miss any future blog posts.

More about Sisse Brimberg? Click here!

Be a part of our story

Join our Better Moments community and get access to exclusive behind the scenes content, tips & tricks from our experts, and travel stories that we only share with our newsletter subscribers. You will be the first to know about new workshops, special offers and giveaways.

Loder