"High in the Himalyan foothills, fearless Gurung men risk their lives to harvest the massive nests of the world's largest honeybee." That's the simple, explanatory description provided for Honey Hunters of Nepal, a series of photographs from Eric Valli that are so precarious seeming as to invoke vertigo on sight. They're also uniformly compelling, illuminating one of the world's most remote regions in a way that transcends the limits of the lens (just look how the the man's face, above, extends beyond each of the image's four sides, swelling outside the frame). Valli, a celebrated photojournalist who has shot regularly for National Geographic, undertook the series with fellow freelance photographer Diane Summers — venturing into the remote jungle of west-central Nepal to live with the Gurung tribesman for eight months. There, they accompanied a band of nine honey hunters as they scaled sheer rock faces to find hives of giant black bees nestled in the cliff walls, then used bamboo poles and pulley systems to dislodge and collect the nests.
The series was awarded first prize at the World Press in 1987.
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