More about this Photo Story
In April 2012 I spent three weeks in Nepal and for a few days also went well off the beaten track with NGO MRDF (http://www.mrdf.org.uk) to create portraits of the women and children living in and around the Syangja District.
Sneaking a quick peek at some of the houses that were hanging off the mountainside (reminding me of the limpets on salt-washed stones in my own seaside hometown) I scrambled down slimy thunderstorm soaked rocks feeling totally out of my depth. The mountains in the Syangja District are not high by Nepal’s lofty standards but the alarmingly bumpy seven hour car journey that had led me to the point where I then had to begin shuffling nervously down the steepest slope was challenge enough for me. I am not a anxious traveler, if anything I like to think of myself as pretty intrepid, and yet the journey to meet some of the individuals who had agreed to share their stories with me in Nepal was at moments petrifying. If the climb down was difficult then in equal measure the arrival at our destination was sanctifying. I felt as if I had overcome some huge spiritual and emotional journey; faced fears and conquered demons! In the midst of the elation of actually arriving somewhere that I could rest my feet I was then quickly brought back to reality and humbled by the reception my small group was given by the women and children who had been waiting for us to arrive. The three days spent in this mountain community photographing life there gave me great opportunities to shine a light on some of the issues facing women and children in rural Nepal, but in retrospect also gave me a chance to question my own place as a female traveler undeniably outside her comfort zone. When I look at these travel portraits I sometimes see myself staring back at the lens more than I see the individuals I took the photographs of. It always challenges me that I tend to find out just as much about myself as I do about others when I am focused on telling their stories. I think one of the joys of travel is how often it leads us back home.
Learn more about: Laura Cook
I believe in the power of storytelling. The finest stories are the ones that are real; authentic stories of hope, life, loss and love. I am a photographer because I genuinely believe that an image can speak a thousand words and that by sharing stories we can move others into action. I have experience working for international NGOS and this has given me a lot of insight into the kind of stories the public respond well to. I am also deeply motivated by my faith and personal ethics and have confidence in a generation of photographers that can portray people’s…