Kathmandu Art Gallery, March 2018

This is a charming, cozy, brand-new, gallery that opened in February in the complex built around the new Le Sherpa restaurant. It's run by the scion of a family well known for supporting the arts in Nepal. It's a great space, and I hung five of my big prints in it before running out of wall. I also laid out my portable portfolio prints on the print cabinet so that people could see a range of my work. And we sold some of them! Images of the big prints and captions follow further down this page. Sadly, Saturday 14 April 2018 was the show's last day, but it's enshrined here as a virtual event.

Boudhanath Under Repair, 2015    One of the three iconic temple complexes in Kathmandu. Pashuputinath is Hindu, and big pilgramage site for all Hindus, Swayambhunath is Buddhist, as is Boudhanath, which is also the center of Tibetan life and culture in Nepal. No one who lives in Kathmandu needs any introduction to this place, or it's odd intersection between what we westerners call the sacred and profane. It's holy, surrounded by monestaries and schools, peopled by pilgrims, but it's also surrounded by souvenir shops, tatoo parlors, bars, restaurants, and the best tapas joint in Nepal. (Rumor reaches me in July 2018 that the tapas joint has closed. This teaches us the wisdom of Buddhist non-attachment.) Everyone seems to get along, helped, I suppose, by the fact that a person could easily move from the sacred to the profane in their own life, and back again. I took this picture in August 2015, less than a month after I arrived in Nepal, while I was in temporary housing in the neighborhood. The spire had been damaged by the earthquake earlier in the year and was being torn down to be rebuilt. The photograph is a stitched panorama, composed of six individual frames, all underexposed by a stop to ensure the moody blue sky came through.

Dendi Expounds   I'm very pleased with this picture as I think it does a good job of showing the grandeur of Nepal's scenery as well as the intimacy of the trekking group. Only three of the people here are members of my group: My wife, listening, excellent guide Dendi Sherpa expounding, and the smiling young man, Santosh Rai, who carried my camera bag through so many thirteen and fourteen thousand foot passes. Even outside the group there is a certain intimacy to the trek as one spends time with and becomes familiar with the people headed in the same direction, whether other trekkers and their guides and porters, locals traveling, or commercial porters delivering supplies to high mountain communities. Note the guy on the cell phone! I had no coverage for most of this trip, but Nepal Telecom maintains an antique analogue CDMA network (which has better reach than digital GSM) that works when one isn't in the shadow of the cell usually at the apex of the passes, as here!

Stupa, Langtang Valley   I took this picture on a business trek. There are such things! I was still in my last assignment as a consular officer, and the one year anniversary of the April 2015 Earthquake was coming up. The quake had shaken loose a mountainside, and the village below was wiped out. I went with a couple of colleagues to show support for the bereaved coming for the memorial service, and to follow up on an older issue. It took two and a half day's walk to get to the point of the photograph, near the very top of the valley, a half day walk beyond the avalanche. This picture is another one of my stitched panoramas, combining seven individual photographs taken with an infrared camera. I wouldn't call this landscape harsh, but it is hard and edgy, and I think the picture shows that. It was late April, and there was still snow on the ground.

Patan Durbar Square   This was my neighborhood in Nepal... I'm still amazed by the fact that this wonderful scene was only a couple of hundred meters from my own front door. It's Patan Durbar Square, a major international cultural site and a massive tourist draw that is also a critical and integral part of the neighborhood. Old guys hang on on the benches in front of the Malla palace in the afternoon, young people court on the bench in front of the Taleju Bell at all times of day. People sell vegetables in front of the Bhimsen Temple early in the morning, as you can see here.

I also like this because it's so very architectural, with an almost European renaissance feel (the Venetians especially were always doing wonderful pictures of public spaces) with the vanishing point of the perspective lines being emphasized by the face of the vegetable vendor in the middle ground. This was the only big print in the show that isn't a stitched panorama.

Fewa Lake, Pokhara   I took this picture with my infrared camera on my first real visit to Pokhara, less than a year after I first set foot in Nepal, on a morning walk from the Glacier Hotel on the quieter southern end of Lakeside. One predictable aspect of infrared is that it healthy green vegetation comes out white. There's no snow, and no blossoms in this photo, but it does have a bit of a cold look to it, and some people have thought it had a Japanese look. No, really, it's very Nepali, very Pokhara, and it's a spot that anyone from Pokhara gets sentimental about since it's a pleasant quiet place people go to where they can chill, hang with their friends, where young people court. It's a stitched panorama, six individual overlapping photographs assembled in the computer in post-production. Not every photograph works in every size, but this one does. It looks great wall sized in the gallery, and I used it for my Christmas card a couple of years ago, and it looked really good small as well.

I attended the Grand Opening of the gallery on February 9th with my wife and a colleague of hers. It represents a number of wonderful Nepali artists, including the amazing ceramicist Gopal Kalapremi Shrestha. My show came together rather suddenly. The owner had me up for coffee on Wednesday, brought her social media people along, and ended up asking if I could have a show up in time for the farmer's market on Saturday. Well, if you put it that way!... We hung on Friday, and yes, it was ready Saturday morning the 23rd of March.