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Faces Of Nepal

It’s been almost 3 weeks after returning from our travel photography trip at Kathmandu. Back at home, I’d spent most of my time with my beloved family rather than looking or examining all photos taken during the trip. Just taking my time for a quick editing & upload to my flickr account so they will be ready when I’m about to write something in my blog. I’m using lightroom through my entire workflow until the selected photos uploaded in my flickr account with its provided publish service. Maybe I will share some tips about publishing photos to flickr via lightroom in another post.

In November 2012, when I first travel to Nepal, I have already taken what I call “established” photo. With those “established” photo already in hand, I’m now put more effort to get portraits. A portrait with permission, not just a candid. This is where our communication skill get tested, it really pumped up my adrenaline most of the time simply because of just asking a stranger whether it’s okay to take photo of them. For most of you, maybe this is just an easy task but you got to believe me that it really hard on me. Maybe it really hurts me when I get rejected, feeling of upset and stressful moment when you really found someone with the characteristic features you wanted but refused to be photographed. I’m using Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 35mm lens, it means I will shoot just about 3-4 feet away from them just to get their portrait, I know they will feel awkward but this is where “trust” plays its role. When we get trusted, there is a good possibility that they will accept your request.

Below are portrait series of Nepal (Kathmandu – Nagarkot – Bhaktapur – Pokhara)

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Sarangkot – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

Portrait of lady above was taken when we about to leave from Sarangkot after spending 3-4 hours for the sunrise viewing. We were the last group leaving Sarangkot that morning. While waiting for our friends at our meeting point, I see this lady inside her shop. So i made some contact with her, investing few rupee for a bottle of Coke. I can’t deny the lighting that moment, and I said to myself, the worst thing I could get is just a rejection. Suddenly I speak before my mind even made decision yet, can I photograph you? She nodded.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X100

The Smoking man is Mr. Bhubanashur, 60 years old and a Newari Hindu. We met at Bhaktapur while I’m waiting for my phone sim to get activated, I don’t expect the activation of new number will cost such amount of time. This guy, his is selling CDs of Nepal Traditional Music. He looks approachable to me, so I made my move to start a conversation. We talked about 5 minutes and he started to light up his cigarette and you know whats next.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X-Pro1

A guy with nice blue fleece. The are about 3 mens were talking when we passed by, then one of the member asking where we come from, knowing that we all come from Malaysia, he spoke Malay with us and sharing some of his work experiences in Malaysia not long ago. My eyes actually fixed to his friend with blue fleece. I told him how good looking he was with that fleece and made a request for taking his portrait.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Tibetan Refugee Camp – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

61 years old Tibetan Lady at Tashi Palkhiel. She is one of the villager selling tibetan handicraft near the Tibetan Refugee Camp. I bought few pieces of “friendship bracelet” and ask for a quick portrait shoot before leaving. 

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Nagarkot | Fujifilm X-Pro1

This beautiful girl above is Ms. Barsha, a 17 years old Tamang living at Nagarkot. She study in a boarding school somewhere in Kathmandu. That day, is a special day for Tamang which Lhosar Festival was celebrated. Actually, this shooting location is not in our list of destination that day, but as we passed by the village, I asked our driver to stop after seeing so many village gathering like having some kind of celebration. I have never regret of stopping by this village.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu | Fujifim X-Pro1

I took these two ladies photo at Swayambhunath Stupa or also known as The Monkey Temple. There were about 5-6 ladies in the same spot, when I was following my friend Wazari Wazir. I’m grateful he made his move communicating with them, a short warming up session and I took this opportunity to photograph some of them.

As he wrote in his blog:

“I simply could not resist photographing them, the light was so wonderful. I’m sure, I  will be haunted by this moment if I didn’t get the shot, well, at least I should try to ask them. Photographing strangers, isn’t easy, nobody ever said it was” – Wazari Wazir (read more here)

He did mention too about his experience being rejected after asking permission to take someone’s portrait, getting “NO” is not the real big thing but thats what keeping us to explore more and take it as challenge to make a portrait of a stranger. Follow your heart, your instinct are telling you something. You need to trust yourself first to be trusted.

“A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs – especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past – are incitements to reverie.” – Susan Sontag

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Travel Photography | Destination : NEPAL

Alhamdulillah. It was all started from scratch until me and Wazari finally managed to organise  our first travel photography trip. It never comes into my mind to organise this trip but with full support and inspiration from Wazari, it finally come true. I remembered he once said “Make It Happens”, so I take that as a challenge, a healthy challenge. Thanks to Wazari Wazir for his support, I wouldn’t have done this without him. He has been inspired me from every aspect.

We have chosen Nepal because we had visited Nepal in 2012. It was my first time, I still remember how excited I am by just enjoying the view for Kathmandu from airport to Thamel Road. I said to my selves, this couldn’t be real, am I dreaming?

Our trip to Nepal is actually only 6D5N trip but because the flight fare hikes in the process, I decided to extend another 1 more day as the flight fare difference is about as equal to afford a night stay at Kathmandu.

To all 11 participant, I can’t express how thankful I am to have amazing friend like you. Thanks a lot for your trust & support.

If you interested to join our next photography trip to Nepal, please let me know. You can email me at shukurjahar@gmail.com or call/sms 0198838780 for more info. I am planning to organise another trip this coming November.

From left: Memperang Gestapo, Ramdhan Supertramp, Atai Donald, Esmar, Rade, Ace Shong, May Chong, Leanna Chong, Wazari Wazir, Azman Jumat, Herman Ulkaya, Chaplain Nex & me.

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