The Business of everest
For this personal project I travelled to Nepal with a group of climbers hoping to summit Everest and Lhotse, respectively the highest and 4th highest mountains in the world. My aim was to shoot a series of portraits of Nepalese people who earn their living from servicing the foreign obsession with Everest, whether it's trekkers walking up to see Everest base camp, or climbers aiming to climb the mountain itself.
I spent almost 3 weeks trekkiing up from Lukla to base camp, and then 7 days at base camp itself, and photographed a wide variety of people along the way, from porters and trekking guides, to guest house owners, to climbing Sherpas, to the Icefall Doctors, who fix the route through the incredibly dangerous Khumbu Icefall.
Many of these people have farms in the lowlands of Nepal, and just spend the couple of months of the trekking season working in the mountains, which provides valuable extra income to supplement their subsistence farming.
One thing that particularly struck me meeting the climbing Sherpas was that many of them have summitted Everest 6, 8 10 times, which if they were Western climbers would make them celebrities and celebrated athletes, yet they are completely anonymous, unsung heroes of the mountaineering world.
While I was in the Khumbu region of Nepal, shooting my project The Business Of Everest, I got a call from the BBC to work on a show they were shooting in Nepal and for which the timings worked out perfectly for me to go straight on to shoot that after my Everest project.
The show was being filmed in the Dolakha region of Nepal, in an area very bady hit by the 2015 earthquake. On a day off from the filming I hired a local translator and headed down into the local village to photograph local people, most of whom had lost almost all their possessions when their houses collapsed into rubble when the earthquake hit.
I didn't only shoot portraits on my trip to Everest. Along the way I took thousands of shots of the incredible landscapes and the people we passed on the way. Here is a selection of my documentary photography of the trip.
Although my main focus for the trip was the unsung local heroes of the Everest region, I was travelling with a group of western climbers who were aiming to summit either Everest, or Lhotse, the 4th highest peak in the world. I also shot a series of portraits of them, both on the trek travelling to Everest and also at base camp, as well as in the Khumbu Icefall itself.