Thursday, April 28, 2011

Faces of Nepal

How do you make your travel photography memorable? When I see pictures of famous places that I've been to I sometimes do a double-take -- I swear I took that photo! There's only so many ways to photograph an iconic building or landscape and lots of travel photography ends up looking eerily similar. Doesn't everyone who visits Angkor Wat leave with almost the exact same photos of the temple entrance and the giant tree roots at Ta Prohm?

Landmarks like Angkor Wat have been photographed millions of time and, odds are, you are not the best photographer to ever try. So how do you give a fresh perspective to heavily photographed places?

Two travel photography blogs I really enjoy at the moment are Ken Kaminesky (a fellow Canadian and bearer of burdensome surname) and Uncornered Market. Though they both give a unique perspective to well-traveled places, their photography styles could not be more different. Ken uses the computer-rendered HDR technique to lend a surreal effect to places like New York's Times Square while the Uncornered Market couple's interactions with the people they meet while traveling result in engaging portraits like this man from Petra.

While I didn't have a chance to read up on the HDR technique before last month's trip to Nepal, I did vow to take more photos of people. Not candid photos or ones taken from afar with a long lens, but photos that are solely about that person and where I first get their consent. This couldn't have been a better opportunity to do so as the Nepali people are some of the friendliest and most photogenic I've met.

While hiking up to the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara I saw this colorfully dressed woman collecting firewood. She lived in a house on the mountainside with her family and they have a terrace-style farm.

Another from Pokhara, this man is a retired Gurkha soldier and now works as a security guard.

This handsome young guy was the "errand boy" at our guesthouse in Lumbini and was hanging out at the rooftop restaurant. After this shot he did some kung fu poses - I definitely see Bollywood heartthrob potential! I can't take credit for this photo-- it was taken by my boyfriend Peter.

Considering they were hanging out in touristy Durbar Square and wearing spotlessly clean clothes, I suspect these two sadhus (wandering Hindu holy men) are not the real deal - but they were happy to be in pictures