I'm excited to be sharing my second installment on my photo series of love and hope in Nepal. From the time I set down in Kathmandu I was moved by the level of love the Nepali people have for each other. I came to find that they are some of the most sacrificial, generous, people-oriented, caring individuals I have ever had the chance of living in community with. Some days I would learn of friends walking 8 hours by foot just to visit another friend by day. Other days we saw individuals sacrificing their entire day or even entire day's wage just to help another friend or family member who was in need.
A few weeks after arriving in Pokhara, Nepal for the first time, I came across an interesting relationship of love. It wasn't the romantic kind of love...but the sacrificial kind that lies between two brothers, two friends, or...in this case two cousins. The day I met Binod and Sagun together I probably cried a few times afterwards because of the way he loved his younger cousin in such a beautiful and complete way. Binod was Robbie's long time friend whom he'd met 5 years ago in Nepal. And Sagun was Binod's 11-year-old cousin who came with him to visit from time to time. Sagun was born with a walking disability, most likely the cause of Polio. His legs are both deformed and do not have the strength for him to carry himself upright at all times. This means at 11 years old, he often crawls up and down stairs and other places quite often. Nonetheless, Sagun is an energetic boy full of hope with an optimistic outlook on life, and tons of friends at school. When I saw them interact for the first time, I noticed Sagun wasn't a "project" to Binod and he wasn't lugging Sagun around based out of compulsion, but out of a genuine, sacrificial love that wanted to empower his younger cousin. I found out later that Binod consistently and voluntarily makes time to pick Sagun up and hang out with him each week. The moment I watched Sagun get onto that motorcycle with Binod for the first time was a powerful realization for me. In a way, Sagun became a different person. One who was free, empowered, chosen and above all...loved by Binod. It seemed as if all the temporal setbacks he'd been facing his entire week and life were washed away by these weekly motorcycle rides with Binod. The truth is that love heals the heart. And it's stories like this that inspire me every day.
To be honest, I believe the western world frames "love" as something that is primarily felt, rather than a choice and an ongoing action of sacrifice. This bothers me for several reasons...because I think many people in the modern world have begun to lose a very important component: the commitment and sacrificial part of love that glues a relationship together. A second inspiration for this piece was me challenging myself to capture something different from the typical visually appealing wedding events and inspiration shoots that I do. Everyone is capable of taking a photo of the beautiful and the wanted. That's why I wanted to do something different this time and begin capturing stories of the imperfect, the overlooked, and discarded. This one is just the beginning. I hope you'll enjoy.