Candid portraits – a guileless moment of naked sincerity when you feel like you’ve captured the spirit of a subject – those are our favorite. When we published the image of Beny Wilson in Sometimes Misfortune is a Blessing in Disguise—Discovery of Birding, we were surprised by the volume of email we received requesting more portraits to be included in our blog.
Nepal offered exceptional opportunities for this type of photography when we embarked on a three-week trek in the Nar-Phu region of Annapurna. We were privileged to capture some of the unique faces that personify these diverse Himalayan cultures. These photos are some of our personal favorites and have never been published before, so we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Buddhist New Year is one of the most exciting annual events in the Kathmandu Valley and we were honoured to be invited to participate in the local festivities. Seated on a stone courtyard floor under a sheet-metal overhang, we shared food with the locals as the religious procession wound its way up to the small monastery in the rain. As with most moments in time… when time stands still… the rain stopped, the sun appeared, and this old lady stepped from the shadows into the light clutching her prayer beads. The lines on her face and hands stood out in bold relief and told the story of someone who had weathered many years and had gained an immense amount of wisdom.
Walking through the village of Phu is like taking a two-thousand year step back in time. Many homes do not have running water or electricity, and are constructed from very simple materials. The texture and colour in this scene were so incredibly coordinated and striking, it literally stopped us in our tracks. The juxtaposition of old and new was poignant and the man’s face looked as tan and leathered as the animal hide he was repairing. The running shoes and modern sunglasses were the epitome of the “Modern Man” in Phu!
While trekking we passed through a beautiful rural area lined with colourful houses and verdant fields. Unbeknownst to us, this stunning lady was the sister of one of our porters. Upon seeing our group approaching she enthusiastically waited at the fence to greet her brother and say “Namaste” as he passed, a warm Himalayan welcome that was felt by all of us.
Marcy & Ray Stader