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Posts tagged “kathmandu

last images from nepal

i can claim lethargy and POISD (post overseas internship stress disorder)* but the truth is i just don’t really feel like writing. i hope you enjoy the images though.

from my trek in langtang

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from my shoot with scott mason, founder of parahawking

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from the streets —

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*not medically documented.

see more of my photography while in nepal here.


last stop

this series was made a while back in february, and i am at liberty to only share it now because it just got published.

MECHANICAL GRAVEYARD: Trolley buses lie in a decrepit state of disrepair at their depot in Min Bhawan. The trolley bus system, when started in 1975, was touted as a key component of public transportation in Kathmandu. They were taken offline in 2001. A peek into its past and present:

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MAOIST MANIFESTATION: Maoist slogans and graffiti can be spotted all around the bus park. The bus park was home to members of the Young Communist League up till recent times.

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SELF-ANNULLING PROPHECY: A bold claim plastered to the side of a trolley bus.

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MAKE YOUR OWN BED: An unmade bed inside a trolley bus suggests continuing utility. This ‘makeshift hostel’ was probably how YCL cadres were accommodated once.

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OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL: The bus park has been transformed into a terminal where electric tempos are charged and serviced after work.

look here for more posts direct from nepal.


biker face

was covering chain inc.’s mountain bike festival at gyanodaya school, bhainsepati, when i decided to take a break from shooting the action and focus on the expressions of the participants. nothing too serious, just a departure from the standard stuff.

the event, mainly targeted at kids, is one in a series that chain inc. hopes to organise to promote mountain biking in the country for health and environmental benefits. kathmandu for instance, with its ever-increasing motor traffic, is one of the most congested and polluted cities in the world.

for more posts direct from nepal, click here.


traffic marshals of tomorrow

this project was inspired by a little road accident i had earlier in the day. i was on my bike, heading off to interview the deputy inspector-general of the traffic police (poetry in motion, if you ask me) when some nepali chap stepped right into my path. he did check traffic before crossing the road alright – he was looking for oncoming vehicles on the other side of the road.

i swerved to my right but still struck him a glancing blow (my left shoulder connected with his jaw). because i was going downhill i did not hit my brakes immediately, as that would mean a 10/10 somersault, possibly straight to heaven, on my part. after the impact, i fell over the handlebar, rolled and landed on my behind. damage? not a single scratch or bruise on me, only that my lens filter (as seen in the first picture above), which was on my lens and loaded facing down in my backpack, cracked. 100 bucks gone but considering that the damage could have been a lot more extensive – peanuts, i say.

this incident is one in a whole spate that illustrates a recklessness that permeates the psyche of road users here in nepal. you can follow the rules of traffic down to the tiniest jot and tittle and still get into an accident. i thought about the episode a lot today, and as much as i’d like to say that i have to accept some of the responsibility, i can’t.

after the collision the fellow walked away, rubbing his jaw and quietly mumbling to himself, knowing full well that what happened was his fault. i had a field day screaming at him in the middle of the road, amidst the hee-haws and disbelieving gasps of a few nepali aunties. i got back on my bike, thinking that this incident will wake jawbroker up and that he’ll take more care.

at least until he starts getting complacent again.

thanks to my buddies and fellow ‘kings of kathmandu’ for helping and participating in my fool’s scheme.

for more posts direct from nepal, click here.


kathmandu ink

INK COMMUNION: Mohan Gurung, of Mohan’s Tattoo Inn, works on a design of Akash Bhairab (Sky Shiva) on the arm of his friend, pilot Vijay Lama.

as published in nepali times #496

In a tiny space on the second floor of a Thamel shophouse, tattoo artist Mohan Gurung is hard at work within a gargantuan world – one filled with age-old tribal symbols to modern bio-mechanical images. He is a conduit for the art, which flows through steady hands onto canvases of skin.

“I have a big studio in Pokhara, but little business. Here in Kathmandu I have a small space, but big business,” jokes Gurung. The quiet and affable Gurung, who received his training in South Korea after some persuasion from a good friend who noticed his talent, counts celebrities and fans from all over the world among his clients. He is so busy, in fact, that he is booked all the way till the end of the year and has stopped taking any more appointments.

Tattooing is an art that transcends time and physical boundaries. The threshold of pain is pushed in the hours required to apply even a simple design. And not only for the person getting the tattoo – the tattoo artist sits locked in rigid concentration, knowing full well that even a single mistake is unacceptable.

After about 3 hours of work with Vijay Lama, a pilot with Nepal Airlines who calls himself a ‘devotee’ of Gurung’s art, the artist limps off for a break, the physical and mental toll apparent. “He spends 12-14 hours a day in this little place, hardly moving, and yet he is one of the happiest people I know,” says Lama. “I’m amazed.”

Gurung returns and explains that he is in talks with the Nepal Tourism Board to hold the country’s first tattoo convention in April next year. “With tattoos becoming more popular here, there is a niche for tattoo tourism,” he says. Returning to his seat, Gurung picks up his tools and gets back to work, his dreams of becoming a great artist and sharing his passion spurring him on. And the wider world is ready and waiting for him.


PREP TIME: Natural, vegetable-based dyes are injected into the skin at the rate of 80-150 times per second through tattoo machines from Micky Sharpz, a well-known brand. Needles range in size and configuration for different purposes like outlining and shading.


CLEAN, MEAN MACHINE: Hygiene is of paramount importance as the dyes are injected into the skin. Disposable gloves, new needles for each session, and a regular wipe-down of the skin with antiseptic solution are some of the precautions taken.


TOTAL TATTOOS: Tattoos and piercings adorn Gurung’s entire body. He gets inked by fellow artists, some of whom are his idols, at tattoo conventions all over the world.


IMMENSE FOCUS: Making a mistake is out of the question, and even experience cannot be taken for granted. Gurung is always looking forward to his next piece, because he knows it will be better than the last.


PAPER IS GOOD, SKIN BETTER: Akash Bhairab is the emblem of Nepal Airlines. Captain Vijay Lama has made it his own to mark his dedication to the national flag carrier, and hopes for clearer skies ahead.

to visit mohan’s tattoo inn, click here.

for more posts direct from nepal, click here.