It’s great when you stumble into some corner of the web and a window to a part of the world you know very little about is opened to you. I was completely captivated by the image below, by Matthieu Paley, of a rider crossing the frozen surface of Lake Baikal, the ice cracked and fractured as it expands and contracts.
His recent work in the Pamir Mountains is beautifully observed, some stunning landscapes and very intimate portraits. In his own words:
Last January/February, I went back to the Afghanistan’s Pamir mountains to have my first “real” experience shooting film. It’s a long story that brought us there, but it was due to the motivation of Louis Meunier (Director of the project). Louis has a long experience in Afghanistan, and he was not the first director to approach me on doing a film on the Afghan Kyrgyz – but his experience, honesty and motivation made it happen. We shared our knowledge of the area and we eventually got last-minute funding from the Danish Embassy in Afghanistan to shoot this film. Thanks so much dear Danes! This last winter was the first session of a 2 (or 3) session-shooting in the Afghan Pamir. As far as filming, I was going to be paired up with another cameraman. I was fearing a show-off dude, but instead I was lucky enough to be teamed up with a kind, patient and extremely talented man: Laurent Fleutot (Director of Photography on “The Winged Migration” and “Oceans”, among others).
Of course, this expedition would not have been possible without the help of our Wakhis and Afghan friends who supported us all along – it was my second winter trip up there with now famous Malang Dario, our production assistant. He was the first afghan to climb Mt Noshaq in 2009, Afghanistan’s highest mountain. See Louis’s other project about this here: 24.000 feet above the War.
We walked and walked and slept in dung smoked filled shepherd houses by -30C and this is what came out: Ladies and gentlemen (drum roll), I present to you “Prisoners of the Himalayas”:
There’s a lot more work on Matthieu’s website, but this particular collaborative film project looks like it could be a real gem. One to keep an eye out for………….