Mount Everest: The Top of The World Reprised
I find it fascinating to wander through my life-time of images. It is through these photographs which essentially measure my life and fundamentally define who I am.
One of the most exciting and interesting stories I did for the NGS was for the 100 year anniversary issue – Exploring the Earth. The National Geographic and the Boston Museum of Science invested 10 years in defining and creating commitments to allow the overflight of the top of the world and given that one-half of Everest is in China this was a touchy and difficult negotiation. I was lucky enough to have been the one to do the image making. Two aircraft were utilized: a Swiss Pilatus Porter turbine engined small plane, and a Lear Jet from Sweden that was especially outfitted for oblique image making as well as map making. The project was many months in the process and a fantastic experience. It was exciting and dangerous.
The magazine came out with four page fold outs of my imagery and then it was over. The many thousands of images of Everest were put away in one of 26 file cabinets and not looked at again until recently. And, what a pleasure it is to look at the extraordinary once in a lifetime images. I have now reprized them and had gallery shows and have given a number of presentations discussing the adventure… and it was an ADVENTURE. I gave a talk at Ramekins in Napa, California which covered both the project I did for the National Geographic article on the Kathmandu Valley (I lived in Kathmandu for 3 years) as well as Everest. The point of this rambling however is to note what a great adventure it is now to re-discover these images and show them to the universe. Images which that to this point in time have not been taken again given the difficult and geopolitically sensitive nature of the Chinese/Nepalese/India borders.
Below is an image of one wall of a recent show… the prints were created on handmade water color paper from Germany… beautiful texture sensitive to the nature of the images themselves.