It’s difficult to think of Nepal without an image of its mighty Himalayan peaks flashing through one’s head. Over the past seven decades, since the country came out of its international isolation, many celebrated photographers have turned their lenses towards some of the highest peaks in the world. To this bank of unforgettable images, we may now add the photographs of Sujoy Das. A dedicated trekker and photographer, Das has been visiting Nepal for close to 40 years. His wealth of images reflects an intimate knowledge of the mountains, its people and the countless trails that weave through the range. Readers of OT would remember the many photo features he’s done for us over the years.
Divided into discrete sections, Nepal Himalaya’s photographs are in black and white. That this medium is often perfect for Himalayan photography is evident from the work of such masters as Vittorio Sella or Kekoo Naoroji. Das makes masterful use of light and shade to bring out the awe-inspiring quality of giant Himalayan vistas. On the other hand, these same qualities also lend a haunting vitality to his portraits of Nepal’s Himalayan tribes or macro studies of snow and ice formations. Das’ studies are carefully framed and the textures he gets from photographs of mani walls or rock faces and moraine bring out the elemental nature of mountains in a way that colour photographs just can’t. As an outsider to the cultures that he depicts, his admirable focus on the physical labour of thousands of unsung porters is stellar. Bent under gigantic packs at breathless altitudes, these are the people who make trekking in these amazing mountains possible.
Lisa Choegyal’s introductory essay is a plus, and her potted history of Nepal gives the reader context for the photographs. Nepal Himalaya is a worthy addition to any Himalaya lover’s library.
To see some of the photographs featured in this book, click here.