ERIC VALLI: HONEY HUNTERS
Posted on June 5, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi
The feeling I had when I first saw Eric Valli’s images was the same I had an early morning, when out of my tent in the trekking path of Annapurna I felt freedom of my soul. Whoever visits Nepal says that energy is everywhere. You can feel it in its people, its mountains, its fabulous landscapes. A spiritual country, the roof of the world. Eric Valli, a talented and experienced French camera snapper has always created a photography that basically consists in breathtaking shots, anthropological essays, eye-narrated stories that document incredible events of normal people. Specialized in mountain scenery and inaccessible locations, he has always been expert on the Himalaya. In 1988, his project Honey Hunters, documented Gurung men of central Nepal, risking their lives while bravely harvest massive honeybees’ nests. It’s geographically renowned that central Nepal has one of the world’s largest honeybee specie.
In that special occasion, one of the oldest member of the Gurung tribe, who was about to retire from this reckless job, agreed to take Valli on the dangerous mission. The photographer accompanied and documented the honey hunter (whose name was Mani Lal) dangling from a nylon rope down a cliff to make one of the most breathtaking nature photo essay of our generation. Since then, Valli’s work appeared in National Geographic and won the year’s World Press Photo Award for Nature Stories. Take a deep look at his pictures: it’s food for thought.