the intensity of touch {documentary photography}

As many would know, last year and the beginning of this year were quite difficult. My family lost our dad, he died in July after a difficult time living with Dementia with Lewy Bodys. Anyone who cares for a family member will know it is relentless and seemingly the only topic of conversation.

I also was diagnosed with an acute depressive episode and with this and outside influences including a government who decided to call an election campaign of 3 months, reducing the amount of work dramatically and making my life financially difficult, to the point of being impossible!

Life can throw plenty of stuff at you and even though this was an extremely stressful and emotional time, I was creatively boosted and have been exploring many concepts, making photography and making photobooks…. so every cloud has a silver lining!

At a time when I could not afford it I decided to book a workshop with two photographers I have admired for a while; Jack Picone and Stephen Dupont. I decided to do this instead of attending my industry professional awards judging (something I have done for 20 years).

I can say that my decision to go and do a photography workshop in Kathmandu wasn’t thought of as being sensible, financially, but I did it anyway!

I am so glad I did.

The workshop was aimed at photographers wanting to better their documentary photography. I have always said to myself that I am a frustrated ‘documentary photographer’ and loved shooting weddings because you get the licence you just shoot what happens in front of you ( and often behind you!)… Funnily enough Stephen Dupont touched on the fact that many photographers think they are documentary photographers, by shooting weddings…. Shooting weddings didn’t necessarily prepare me for what I photographed in Kathmandu, but i think the ability to anticipate did.

I was asked why would I want to do such a workshop and did I actually learn something! Of course!

Even though I am a long-standing professional in the commercial realm I was inspired by being around two awesome photographers, men and human beings. I was inspired by listening to their stories, be shown images and projects they have and are working on, enjoyed the discussions with me and the other participants about their photography and photographic matters in general, I laughed at their banter and was grateful to be welcomed and I think they were proud of what I produced. I was helped to curate my brief that was succinct, emotive and powerful.

Jack and Stephen also introduced us to Kishor Sharma who is a Nepali photographer, and he showed us his current project and book about nomadic people of west Nepal. THIS was truly unbelievable body of work! He is on instagram

So, YES! it was definitely worth it!

The brief was “Intensity” and I explored the intensity of touch. Culturally I noticed the Nepali people often walked, sat together closely, arms draped over each other, holding hands irrespective of of gender and age.

I also wanted to include exploring the concept of death, something which I am currently working on elsewhere.

Touch is so fundamental in our well-being. I lack being touched as a single divorced women, so this was a perfect antidote.

I have hundreds of images and with the help of Jack and Stephen we got my brief down to 24!

I had also recorded some sound throughout the week I was there and eventually I will put together a longer-form AV and blog complete with the visuals and sound.

Jack and Stephen are thinking about doing a workshop in Cuba next year and if you are passionate about your photography, about documentary photography and a desire to explore new places and meet a group of wonderful people at the same time then get in contact with Jack and Stephen.

To see some work from the others, here are the links:

Jack
Stephen
Matt
Ray
Stephen
Kishor
Bunu
Uma
Tripty

The Reportage Website is:

www.reportage.xyz

Here are my 24 images I submitted: (please note that a couple of images have images of deceased people, and if you are wondering I did ask for permission to make these images and feel I have treated death as beautifully as the Hindu people treat death; with dignity and grace)

Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
The Gurkhas or Gorkhas or “Gorkhali” (गोर्खा) (/ˈɡɜːrkə/ or /ˈɡʊərkə/) are the soldiers of Nepali nationality. Here is a retired solder being blessed
Offerings and prayers at The Monkey Temple, Kathmandu

Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
Raising a pole prior to The Kumari Festival in Durbar Square Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
At The Kumari Festival Durbar Square Kathmandu… People wanting to see The Living Goddess clamber all over a temple damaged by the earthquake
Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
Not happy, Jan!
Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
Little boy cloaks himself in a curtain in front of his family’s pharmacy

Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,

Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,

Kathmandu, Documentary, reportage, touch, intensity,
an anticipation of touch!
A Saddhu is a religious ascetic, mendicant (monk) or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life.
Prayers at burning ghats in Pasupathinath
Washing during prayers at burning ghats in Pasupathinath

Hindu Cremation
a daughter grieves her mother at the burning ghats in Pasupathinath
A woman is helped by family as she grieves her recently deceased husband at burning ghats in Pasupathinath
Women of the family grieve at their father/brother’s cremation
Hold your dear ones close!

This little AV was what I presented on the final night. There is some sound at the end, FYI

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