When it comes to Nepali landscape and mountain photography, Jagdish Tiwari is a name that is on the forefront. His famous panorama posters adorn offices, appear on brochures, postcards and are snapped up by tourists in Thamel and Pokhara.
Nepal is already so photogenic, you may say, it doesn't take much to be a landscape photographer here. But Jagdish's pictures capture the unearthly beauty, breathtaking vistas and the country's verticality like no other.
What is even more remarkable is that he never took a single formal class in photography.
Jagdish is self-taught, and the recognition he enjoys today comes after a long struggle. It may not be too fanciful to say photography was Jagdish's calling, he certainly had the eye, even as a rank beginner. In those days, unable to afford a camera of his own, Jagdish would take one on hire and walking across Nepal snapping away. His fascination with mountains is apparent in carefully constructed, brilliantly sharp compositions.
All this has paid off, quite literally. A decade ago, his portrait of Sagarmtha from Kala Pathar sold for Rs 700,000. Since then, Jagdish has been back on Kala Pathar 27 times and each time the mood of the mountain is different.
For an outdoor photographer like Jagdish, it is a source of great frustration that he can't travel as much as he would like because of the security situation. Confined to Kathmandu, Jagdish is doing the next best thing: sifting through his vast archive of photographs to select favourites for three books to be published soon. He's also contemplating starting a four-month photography course. But life in the urban sprawl chafes his spirit: "Is there anybody who doesn't love mountains, landscapes, sunrises and sunsets? Nature has no substitute." Happily, Jagdish's photographs bring us close enough to the real thing.