NEPAL PHOTO WORKSHOP
10th to 16th March, 2017
I've worked in Nepal regularly for the past 15 years. There’s really nowhere quite like it. For me, it’s always been a country of tantalising mystery; evocative and enchanting. It's one of those rare places where the reality lives up to expectations.
For photographers, Nepal offers so many opportunities. One only has to step onto the street to be greeted by a giddy selection of eye-catching subjects. From the friendly chai-sellers, expertly pouring their hot, sweet tea, to the market traders offering a mouthwatering selection of fruits and vegetables, life is lived very much on the street. Architecture that might only be seen in museums outside of Nepal is commonplace. Children climb upon sturdy lion statues and fly their kites between the roofs of ancient pagodas.
So numerous and varied are the photographic opportunities that I’m often inclined to just sit and watch and wait. There is no need to rush from place to place searching for engaging subjects, potential image-making opportunities are all around.
The Kathmandu Valley will be the base for our photography workshop. From here we will be able to reach the most picturesque locations, visiting a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites including the medieval centre of Patan, the sacred cremation ghats in Pashupatinath, the revered Buddha stupas in Boudhanath and Swayambhunath and, my personal favourite, the ancient city of Bhaktapur, where potters work on hand-powered wheels in the streets. Architectural and social history is not something to be viewed inside a glass cabinet in these places, it is a ubiquitous part of everyday life.
We will explore the ancient temple sites, of course, and I’ll be using my experience to bring the workshop group to each location when the light is likely to be most favourable. Importantly, we will also have time to explore the back streets and areas away from the main tourist trail. In my experience, this is where the heart of Kathmandu still beats most profoundly. This is not a “tour”, where participants are carted from one “photo opportunity” to the next, this is very much a workshop where participants are provided with tools and information and then encouraged to explore.
Consequently, the images created will be the product of each individual photographer’s approach, style and vision. We provide the means for you to create something that’s hopefully a little more than a pastiche of another photographer’s vision. The emphasis in our workshops is the “work” element.
Having written a number of magazine articles about Kathmandu and Nepal, I have learned that having a clearly defined assignment is an excellent way of focussing my attention. There’s nothing wrong with wandering around aimlessly; Kathmandu is a great place to do that; but having a specific imperative helps me concentrate on producing a cohesive body of work.
With that in mind, the workshop will begin several weeks before participants arrive in Nepal when assignment choices will be offered. Photographers will receive a selection of assignment briefs, specifying topics and styles that would be appropriate for an article published in a travel magazine, for example. For photographers hoping to expand their portfolios or wishing to produce marketable work, the Nepal workshop will offer excellent learning opportunities.
Perhaps the most colourful of festivals, Holi is known as the “Festival of Spring” and the “Festival of Colour”. It’s a day when normal etiquette gives way to a more casual, free-for-all celebration. People will adorn each other’s faces with coloured paste and it’s usual to find crowds throwing coloured water and powder. Whilst the activities are typically good natured (Holi is a festival about renewal and rejuvenation), participants can best be described as enthusiastic and nobody will escape becoming a human canvas.
We recommend that workshop participants bring one complete set of clothing that they’re willing to sacrifice to Holi. In my experience, some of the coloured dyes can be stubborn to remove so it’s better not to wear your best suede shoes. A full packing list will be provided. We will also include a list of suggested protection for camera equipment. A good rain cover is a worthwhile investment and will protect against the worst of the powder and water.
Holi in Nepal is relatively more gentle than in some parts of India, where it can be frenetic but it is inevitably boisterous and photographers should be prepared for a colourful assault on all senses and expect to end the day in a rainbow-coloured state.
Who is this workshop for?
We purposely design workshop content to be suitable for all levels of experience. It's not unusual to find complete novice photographers working beside experienced professionals on our workshops. Photography is a very personal pursuit, not a "one size fits all" solution so, given that everybody is different, we work on that basis. With individual assignments, photographers work at their own pace, developing their own style. So whatever your experience, you can be confident that there will be plenty of learning opportunities available.
Photographers are a generous breed, of course, and we find that sharing knowledge between participants is often an invaluable bonus. Opportunities to learn from each other are enhanced during our regular review and critique sessions.
Our logistical needs will be supported by a trusted, local agency. Transport will be provided and accommodation will be in one of Kathmandu’s long-established hotels. Local, English-speaking Sherpa guides will provide guidance and inside knowledge, allowing photographers to work alongside Nepalese people who I have worked with many times in the past. All of the logistics will be carefully coordinated and based upon many years of experience.
Gavin Gough is an experienced, professional travel photographer and writer. Gavin has led dozens of photo workshops in Thailand, India, Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and more. He is represented by Getty Images, Lonely Planet and 4Corners. His images and written articles have appeared in publications around the globe for the past 15 years. He regularly works for NGOs in Africa and Asia.
Gavin Gough's Portfolio
Jack Kurtz has been a professional photojournalist for more than 30 years. His expertise at photography is invariably informed by his in-depth research. Jack’s most recent focus has been on stories relating to climate change and the environment, economic development and human migration. Jack is represented by Zuma Press.
Jack Kurtz's web site
The (auspicious) workshop fee is US$ 3,333.
A 33% deposit is required to secure a place. The balance is payable by 31st January, 2017.
We aim to include all the things you’ll need during the workshop so that, once you’ve arrived, you don’t need to worry about paying for any of the essentials. All your workshop-related, land-based costs are covered.
- Seven nights' accommodation. All accommodation is single occupancy. There are no single supplements.
- All meals during the workshop.
- All transport during the workshop is provided.
- English-speaking guides
- Tuition and guidance from two, experienced professional photographers. Participants will have plenty of access to Gavin and Jack and we always include plenty of time for feedback and critique.
- Prior to the workshop, photographers will receive a comprehensive packing list, including research material. We’re firm believers in the benefits of adequate preparation.
- Pre-workshop assignment information, including guidance in how to prepare for a productive photo essay shoot.
- Entrance fees to UNESCO World Heritage sites
TERMS & CONDITIONS
* Quotes on this page are from participants' post-workshop satisfaction surveys.
- Flights to Kathmandu
- Travel Insurance
- Nepal Visa
- Drinks, laundry, souvenirs and other personal sundries.
- Tips for local staff
Photographer's Location Guide to Nepal by Gavin Gough in Digital Photographer magazine.