N e p a l

In 2007, my daughter Mariana and I visited Nepal. As an amateur photographer who has focused over the years on landscape photography, I was looking forward to taking photos of the country’s mountains, the Himalayas, and their natural surroundings.

To do so, we had planned to trek for several days in the area around Mount Annapurna, the first mountain of over 8000 metres to be climbed by man and whose ascent was narrated by Maurice Herzog in “Annapurna: First Conquest of an 8000-metre Peak”, a book I devoured as a child.

Before long my plans to photograph the landscapes of the Himalayas were totally thwarted by the adverse weather conditions. When we reached the points we’d chosen from which to view the mountains, and for most of the trek in the foothills of Annapurna, the sky remained cloudy and it rained heavily. Only on a few occasions were the enormous mountains actually visible.

However, the friendliness and the warmth of the people, the intense colouring of their clothes and the cultural wealth of the country attracted my attention from the outset. It was thus that for most of the time photography of human activities in both urban and rural settings largely replaced landscapes.

Perhaps the most clearly perceived fundamental aspects of daily life in Nepal could be summed up under three headings: first of all, the intense spirituality of the people, together with the very great religious tolerance of the two leading religions or beliefs in the country, Hinduism and Buddhism. Secondly, the intense daily activity in the streets, involving trade, crafts, the washing of clothes and dishes and even personal hygiene. Lastly, the large-scale participation of women in most productive activities, including rural work.

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