It is perfect that Everest: Reflections on the Solu Khumbu should come out this year, the centenary of Edmund Hillary’s birth. The book is a tribute to the contribution made by one of the first two people to climb Mt Everest to the Sherpa people who live in the sacred valleys below the world’s highest mountain.
The large-format photo book has stunning images of the Solu Khumbu, by photographer and travel writer Sujoy Das, and chapters by Lisa Choegyal, who has lived and worked in Nepal since 1974, is New Zealand’s honorary consul to Nepal, and writes a fortnightly column in this paper.
Both have a deep connection to the Sherpa people, and an admiration bordering on reverence of the mountains that they live amongst. Das has been visiting the Khumbu since 1978, trekking, writing and photographing. The book shows why he keeps coming back: the photographs reflect his mastery of the camera and a Tagorean ability to capture the beauty of nature in words and pictures.
The portraits of mountains and people are simultaneously stark and sublime, their rugged beauty etched by the light of the Khumbu sky. Das peers beyond the usual touristy postcard images of the Khumbu to reveal faces and forests, rivers and ridges in strikingly memorable imagery.