Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 #04
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 #15
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 #18
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 #27
Kathmandu, Nepal 2010 #28
Larry Louie always covers compelling stories in a graphic and powerful way. I found his work in Critical Mass many years ago, and have been a fan ever since. His high contrast black and white work has depth, contrast and emotion. His color is vibrant, specific and representative of his subject, not just a study of color, it is color that has meaning. His work is emotional, and lets us all participate in cultures we know little about. I feel as if I am traveling with him, as a participant, not as an outsider. No matter what his subject, his focus draws us in, and we are there with him, understanding why these cultures are important, and what they tell us about ourselves.
His cause is global blindness. As an optometrist, Larry has been working with the organization, Seva Canada, highlighting the need for support for a global initiative to eliminate unnecessary and avoidable blindness. I am thrilled he has given me a new way to see.
In his own words:
Kathmandu, the cultural and political center of Nepal and home to almost one and a half million people, is quickly becoming the slum central of Nepal. Travelers to the area may find their attention captured less by the majestic Himalayan Range, than by the rapid deterioration of the valley at its foot. Once pristine rivers are now permeated with the stench of raw sewage; once clear mountain air is now filled with pollution that clogs sinuses and makes throats raw. New slum areas are spreading rapidly over the whole valley.
With little or no access to housing, sanitation and clean water, many of the people displaced from their hillside villages, are congregating along the banks of the rivers. It is ironic that in Kathmandu, with the Himalayan Mountains on the horizon, that there is an insufficient amount of water supply in the area. Communities remain dry for many hours, if not days. Even in areas with water, the water quality is so poor that it must be boiled or filtered in order to make it drinkable. One of the main reasons for the poor water quality is the lack of waste disposal facilities, sanitation facilities, and water treatment plants. The two main rivers, the Bagmati and the Bishnumati, which pass through the city of Kathmandu, are absolutely filthy with raw sewage and garbage dumped by locals and municipalities. The sad thing is that these river areas are often the place where the new urban poor of Kathmandu find space to build their homes.
In the Underbelly of Kathmandu, we take a glimpse of the simmering crisis that is occurring throughout the Kathmandu Valley and the endurance of the people living there. Many of them had come to Kathmandu in search of jobs and a better future for their family.
Larry Louie’s fascination with photography and travel developed at a very young age, with his first National Geographic magazine. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Larry was educated as a doctor of optometry and now splits his time between his practice and his art. As an optometrist Larry adjusts people’s visual perception. As a photographer, he seeks to adjust people’s view of the world.
Larry is awed by the ethnic and cultural diversity, the different languages, customs and beliefs he encounters in his travels. His photographs allow him to share with others the variety and beauty of the world he sees. Larry’s greatest interest lies far off the beaten path, where indigenous people pursue lives very different from his own, and distinct cultures face rapid change, even extinction. Larry also explores the challenges that arise where people’s lives are caught between the past and present, documenting the social issues of groups that modern society has touched but left behind. His photographs show the strength and perseverance that mark people the world over, revealing the light sometimes found in dark places. By documenting remote societies, he hopes to inspire others to take note of what is at stake.
Larry’s work to document the lives of people around the world has resulted in a vast archive of images. His work has received international recognition and awards including the IPA Lucie Award; National Geographic Photo Essay Award; and Humanitarian Documentary Grant with the World Photography Gala Award. His work has been exhibited worldwide from Canada to the U.S., and Europe and Asia and has been published in numerous magazines. As both an optometrist and a photographer, Larry is an avid supporter of SEVA, an international non-profit organization that has joined the VISION 2020 initiative aimed at eliminating preventable and avoidable blindness in the world by the year 2020.
Learn more about SEVA Canada at www.seva.ca
News from Larry:
Larry‘s photo at the blind school in Tanzania took third place in the United Nation’s Development Programmes Millennium Goals. It will be used to represent the UN’s goal to provide primary education for all children around the world, and will be on display in the UN building in New York and Tokyo.