Sunday, August 31, 2008


Padmakanya is one of the schools where I'm teaching a photography workshop. It's apparently the oldest girls school in Nepal, and even the belated queen attended long before her fate turned for the worse. It's a government school, which means that the students mostly come from "humble" backgrounds. The girls here are rad! They are bright and funny and wonderfully curious. I feel so lucky!

Girls and cameras

Teaching is so much FUN! With Manju Shrestha's collaboration, we're leading two workshops- one in a private school, and the other in a government (public) school. All of the students are so enthusiastic to learn photography, and I'm so intrigued to see how it all goes in the next weeks.

Below are a few snaps taken in class- we're covering the basics for starters.
1. Aprazita gets a little help demonstrating how to "handle" a camera (though as far as I can tell, she's got it all under control- she rocks!)
2. Manju demonstrates how the aperture looks in the lens.
3. Trying to grasp the whole aperture/shutter speed equivalency equation... huhhhh?
4. Getting a handle on composition and focusing the old fashioned way (my Hassy finally gets some use!)
5. Aprazita shows her first assignment to the class.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just like an old couple

Fernando left last week and I immediately succumbed to a persistent cold/flu, so I haven't had the chance to photograph much these days. It's funny how you take someone for granted when they're there all the time, only to appreciate the smallest things later, from a different perspective.

In the next couple of weeks I'll be teaching 2 photography workshops to local Kathmandu high school students. It should be an amazing experience, as well as a good chance to get to know what the kids here think and feel about life. As soon as I have time, I'll give a good update....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Praying at the Mother Temple at Dakshin Kali

"To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer's craft. His central problem is a simple one: what shall he include, what shall he reject? The line of decision between in and out is the picture's edge. While the draughtsman starts in the middle of the sheet, the photographer starts with the frame."
-John Szarkowski, The Photographer's Eye

Tableaux Vivants

Visual Cliches, and....

Yes, poverty can be seen everywhere here in Nepal and so it wouldn't be that hard to show it in this way... the real challenge is to see beyond the expected, and to discover a deeper meaning to the reality reflecting itself around...
In the west, often these kinds of images are the only ones that we have access to. The "news" is filled with heart-wrenching pictures of Third World poverty. But there has to be more to the story. Part of what inspired me to come to Nepal was to learn more about another culture, beyond the stereotypical portrayals I have encountered in the media. I am finding a very complex and alive culture, that can all at once feel as if it is still living in the Middle Ages, while moving at the speed of light toward what we may call modern progress. I hope in the coming weeks to find a way to show through pictures and stories something of this complexity... keeping my fingers crossed, my attitude humble, and my mind and heart awake to telling what is "true"...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bhaktapur-City of Devotees

We spent a few days in Bhaktapur, just a short distance from Kathmandu, but a world apart. Each day and night the chanting of devotees kept us awake, but somehow we learned to love it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Energy Crisis

Here in Nepal there is a serious shortage of petrol and kerosene and people are spending ridiculous amounts of time queuing to receive a small fraction of the fuel that they need. In Patan, a "suburb" of Kathmandu, kerosene containers were tied together to hold people's place in line. The kerosene was being poured out of large barrels using a metal pitcher, while a woman kept track with pad of paper and pencil of what everyone got, and a man stood near collecting the money.

Daily Devotions

Spritual life is alive and well here in Nepal, and one of the things that fascinates me is the devotional practices of women. There are so many complex layers to women's daily lives, and it will take me some time to begin to penetrate the meaning of what I see around me. For now, I revel in the beauty of the spontaneous encounter with the divine.

Variations on a theme

Ahhhh... lovely stages of color.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Evening Gossip, Pokhara

The Geometry Lesson

What's a boy to do?.....

Fernando has come to spend a few weeks in Nepal with me. Even though he gets a little impatient sometimes when I wander off to take photos, I think he actually likes the opportunity to make new friends.... (though he also often falls prey to charmingly smart little girls that sell purses and has to tell them that he will NOT buy one, sorry!)

Women Against Violence Against Women

On Sunday, August 3, a group of women rallied in Kathmandu to protest the killing of Laxmi Bohora. Murdered by her husband and mother-in-law in May in Kanchanpur, Bohora was a social worker fighting for women’s and human rights. Women protesters have been holding a hunger strike for the last 3 weeks to draw attention to the cause of domestic violence awareness and demand that Bohora's killers be charged (they were released on bail, and the case dropped.) Not getting the response from government officials that they wanted, they decided to do something radical. The hunger strikers dressed in black, with part of their undergarments showing, and marched to the Constitutional Assembly. Police held back the demonstration, claiming that the women were acting indecently, and became physically violent with some of the women. Some of the demonstrators were taken to the police station, and those injured were taken to hospital.

I caught the tail end of the demonstration later in the afternoon, when the friends of the detained women marched to the police station to demand the release of those being held. As the protesters chanted for justice, the police held the order. A lot of tension was in the air, but finally, the demonstrators were allowed through the police gate and joined the others. Snacks were handed out, and the women who’d been accosted by police showed their bruises.