Langtang Photo Album
The Langtang Photo Album project aims to bring awareness to the stories of Langtang earthquake survivors through
their own photography & writing, & to preserve cultural identity & heritage at risk of being lost after the earthquake.
On April 25th 2015, the village of Langtang, located in Nepal’s Himalayan region, was devastated by a co-seismic avalanche that killed over 300 people and released half the force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. In the wake of this disaster, the Langtang community has attempted to rebuild their lives while honoring the memory of those who were lost. Langtang Photo Album is one of the efforts resulting from this endeavor.
Langtang Photo Album aims to empower Langtangpa survivors to narrate their own stories. It is led by members of Picture Me Here and Photo Circle, using photo voice and participatory methods to enlist the powerful tool of photography and visual storytelling. We gave donated cameras to interested Langtang survivors in November 2015 and again in June 2017. Through workshops and skills-training, participants documented the stories they chose to tell in this post-earthquake period. Empowering local voices is particularly significant in post-disaster contexts. Narration of these stories is often dominated by international media that leaves as quickly as they come. Langtang Photo Album seeks to create platforms in the aftermath of this.
“Most of the aged people who know about the culture have passed away and our old antiques and monasteries and cultural houses and lots of things have been destroyed. I fear our culture is going to be vanished.”
--Jangbu Tamang, Langtang Village
Langtang Photo Album is part of a larger initiative, in collaboration with the Langtang community, called the Langtang Memory Project. This is a ‘living archive’ and ongoing cultural heritage preservation effort, co-facilitated by Jennifer Bradley and Austin Lord, in collaboration with the Langtangpa community. The project continues to evolve as the Langtangpas navigate this post-earthquake time period. As the project evolves, projects like Langtang Photo Album continue to be of particular importance.
“We are now passing through this incident, so if we share what happened to us and what we did by making photographs and writing stories, I think people will learn something from us.”
--Gyalpo Lama, Langtang Village
The Langtang Memory Project continues to engage in a variety of platforms, including, photo exhibitions, intergenerational knowledge exchange, writing groups, language translation and transcription, and a book project in collaboration with the Langtang community.
Meet some participants: