Thoughts on Nepal

Two devastating earthquakes and countless aftershocks have made this past winter's trip to Nepal a very surreal one.  Nepal will require the help of the world in prayers, donations and service for many years to overcome the tragic destruction and emotional wear on its people that they are experiencing right now.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery and to keep their hope and spirits alive despite the road ahead.  There are links at the bottom of this post for several outstanding organizations and groups if you would like to donate funds for food, rebuilding and medicine.

When I spent time in Nepal this past March, I assumed the greatest pleasure I would have would be through the lens but it was a different journey and message that I came away with and I think that is exactly what Nina & Wes Photography were hoping for with their Beyond Workshop.  What I found instead was an opportunity to experience and absorb what was in front of me - certainly with a camera but more importantly without.

It was some time late last year that I realized a great need to do more with photography and craved the opportunity for something purposeful in a different way than how I feel when documenting the wedding day.  It was also around that time that Nina and Wes presented an opportunity to share their love of the culture, people and country of Nepal and I know that, that in turn opened doors for those of us attending to also do the same.

Parts of this journey could not be photographed due to the very fragile and often vulnerable nature of either the people or situations but it was these moments that are most engraved in my mind now.  It was important for me to walk away humbled both in business and in life and I definitely got what I was hoping for. For now, here is a collection of moments from Nepal that I had the pleasure of seeing, experiencing and capturing. 

To me, Nepal was….

...Vibrant colors. Seas of saris. Namaste. Foreign voices. Head bobbles. Peaceful sunrises. Honking horns. Chaotic and yet completely organized driving. Private school chanting. Offerings and prayer flags. Mountainsides and valleys. Bolts of fabrics strewn on counter tops. Yak wool and even softer baby yak wool. Quaint shops decorating the sides of streets. Clothes hand washed strung and hung in the hot sun and my muscles burning after each round. Mother Teresa Nuns with hard rough hands and heavy strong hearts. Aamas (Mother's) Home women bound together in sad pasts and tears but fast to embrace, hold and kiss their new found friends. Mo Mo’s made with Love. The Rai family - the most sincere example of love and one I am keeping close as a daily reminder of what it can and should be...  

...Sumitra, a welcoming and patient heart that gave me extra time at the Aamas House and subsequently let me live dangerously on the back of her motorbike through the city's twists and turns.  Terra Cotta - lots of it and lining as many ledges as possible.  Men transporting refrigerators on their backs, their arms and strength fueled by need seemingly oblivious to the inconvenience.  Jugs of water on top of black hair and determined faces.  The wrinkles of the elderly face and how beautiful they each are. Andreina dancing to Taylor Swift while the Aamas cheer her on tearing with laughter and excitement,  Long winding, dusty walks with my Dad.  Straw brooms for sweeping and mopping. The loud whipping sound of the industrial sewing machine at the hands of a petite mom. Corn husks hanging like chandeliers. Street children’s laughter and sometimes unavoidable, pleading stares that make me determined to give my kids every chance to feel content and safe in life wherever it leads them...


...The neighborhood of Thamel - an interesting marriage between technology, cell phones, wifi and yet lengthy routine power blackouts that plague homes and businesses twice daily.  Business men in fine leather shoes and briefcases walking alongside decorated monks in sandals while parent’s sprint on motorbikes in between them with school children wedged safely in the middle.  A place with modern French bakeries steps down from ancient Hindu temples presenting passerbys a chance for fast offerings and prayers.  The constant hustle of stop and go while still feeling time slow and perspectives clear amidst the dusty twists and turns.  The home base for my Dad and I on our last couple days together grabbing breakfast before our endless walking trips. Business and mom chats with the ever impressive Carrie Moe...

...Open air markets, Chicken a la Kiev - I never tried this in Kiev but it’s amazing in Nepal.  My brand new leather boots aged 20 years in 2 weeks, skyping in the middle of the night with my babies.  Beauty for Ashes - giving women freed from devastating pasts a purpose and a promise for the future and a secure life.  City of Nargakot - one of a handful of times I've been excited to wake at dawn for the sunrise, Mango juice in abundance. Wedding styleshoots unlike anything I've ever seen before. Chats with the amazing Abany. Rolls of film spilling from our bowls..

...Finally, Nina and Wes - the masterminds behind these experiences and the most inspiring of all for where I want the focus to be going forward, how to get there and why enjoying the journey in between is a must. Thank you for giving myself and the group of us a chance to know Nepal as it should be and as I hope it will be again soon.   

{Jewels of Nagarkot & Morning Reticence}
The Beyond Workshop by Nina & Wes Photography

Concept & Design by Abany Bauer | Florals by Type A Society | Paper by Julie Song Ink | Model Natalie Papova | MUAH by Heather Smith 
Dress by Carol Hannah | Jewelry by Mickey Lynn J
ewelry | Cinematography by Jake Colletta | Hosted by The Fort Resort

{Nepali Bridal Shoot}
The Beyond Workshop by Nina & Wes Photography

Cinematography by Colletta Films | Event Design by Abany Bauer | Floral Design by Type A Society | Wedding Dress by Carol Hannah 
Jewelry by Mickey Lynn | Hair & Makeup by Heather Smith | Ribbon by Frou Frou Chic | Hosted by The Fort Resort


{Mini Bridal Shoot}
The Beyond Workshop by Nina & Wes Photography

Event Design by Drops of Honey Designs | Floral Design by Type A Society | Wedding Dress by Carol Hannah | Model Natalie Papova | Jewelry by Mickey Lynn | Hair & Makeup by Heather Smith | Ribbon by Frou Frou Chic | Mrs. Box by The Mrs Box | Hosted by The Fort Resort

For more information on how to help the organizations and people on the ground in Nepal exhausting all efforts for displaced persons, the ever vulnerable children and elderly, those in dire need of medical, shelter and food supplies please find the below list for donations:

3 Seams

Waypoint Church (Select "Nepal" in dropdown)

Preeti Signh Family