Bubriski Publishes New Photo Book

Professor Kevin Bubriski came to Nepal at the age of 20 as a Peace Corps volunteer and stayed for five years, working in remote regions of the country. The experience left an indelible impression. "I love Nepali food, going to Swayambhu, walking through the old cities of Kathmandu,” he said. “My most-formative years were spent there, so it’s very much a part of who I am.”

Nepal has also been a big source of inspiration for his work as a photographer. Earlier collections including Portrait of Nepal, consisting of images taken in the 1990s, include panoramic views of the natural and built landscape. "Perhaps the most extraordinary photos, however, are the seemingly simple portraits," writes Toby Alice Volkman, Program Officer of the Education, Media, Arts and Culture Program of The Ford Foundation.

Portraits make up the entire contents in Bubriski's latest book Maobadi, launched earlier this month in Kathmandu. The photos were taken in the summer of 2010 in a vastly different country than the one Bubriski inhabited during his Peace Corps years. Nepal has been wracked by civil war since 1996 and as the country tries to create democratic republic that embraces diverse ethnic groups, the fate of an estimated 20,000 former combatants in the Maoist People’s Liberation Army remains unresolved. It is the faces of these young men and women that Bubriski captures in Maobadi.

“I had heard much about the Maoists and the People’s War over the past 14 years and I knew only the gruesome images of war from both sides of the conflict,” said Bubriski. “I am trying to find the human side of the Maoist combatants because beyond the uniform, their status, and their economic standing, there is just the person. I wanted to respect them as a person and show their individuality.”

This collection of portraits lets us see individual PLA combatants and know each person’s name, district and age. Each portrait represents just a brief moment in the subject’s life, a moment after the war and after four years of cantonment life.

All proceeds from the sale of the book, published by Himal Books, will go to Citta Hospital in Simikot, Humla, to sponsor medical field camps in Humla.

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