News from Nick Mayo
September 2017: Ha Giang
August 2017: East Coast Taiwan
April 2017: N.W. Vietnam
March 2017: Bayan-Ölgii
Jan./Feb. 2017: Terai & Rajasthan
October 2016: Vietnam
Oct. 2016/May 2017: Exhibition in Hamburg
A selection of my Arctic photographs is on show in Hamburg as part of the "Eiszweiten - Die Menschen des Nordlichts" (People of the Northern Lights) exhibition at the prestigious Museum für Völkerkunde, one of Europe's leading ethnology institutions.
A short video tour of the exhibition is on YouTube. Continues until May 14, 2017.
Slideshow of my Arctic portfolio.
2017 Calendar : བཀ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས
The 2017 calendar is out now. A portfolio of rare photographs from the Buddhist monasteries of the Tibetan plateau and Himalayas.
14 pages. Matt paper with a ringed wire hanging on black board.
The calendar always sells out so order early from the Shop page.
July/August 2016: Himachal Pradesh
May - July 2016: Japan
March 2016: India
A journey to four states. Snake catchers; tattooed women; naked Naga sadhus; exquisite mural decorated havelis; tribal devils; peripatetic sheep herders; hilltop temple complexes; wandering nuns. A unique land. See it here or view in the galleries:
Chhattisgarh (pages 2 & 3)
Rajasthan (page 5)
Gujarat (pages 7 & 8)
February 2016: Sumba
January 2016: Lai Chau
November 2015: N.E. India & E. Bhutan
October 2015: Kyushu
September 2015: Yen Bai
2016 Calendar : The Wandering Rabari of India's Western Deserts
The 2016 calendar is on sale now. Portraits of one of Asia's last remaining nomadic peoples.
14 pages on a free standing black board with wire hanging.
Order early from the Shop page as the calendar always sells out.
April 2015: N. Vietnam
March 2015: W. India
March/April 2015: Exhibition In Boston
A selection of my photographs is appearing in an exhibition at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College in Massachusetts - "Skirting Identity : Woman and Weaving in Laos, Thailand and Myanmar". If you're in the Boston area, drop by.
On until April 16, 2015.
For a preview of some of the photographs, check out this slideshow.
February 2015: Central Taiwan
January 2015: Arunachal Pradesh & Shan State
November 2014: Solo Exhibition In Taipei
My new solo exhibition opens next Tuesday (November 25th) at the Qian Gallery restaurant in Dihua Jie. "The Last Wanderers". Enjoy rare photographs of Asia's remaining migratory peoples over some fine dining.
A preview of a selection of the images in the exhibition can be seen here.
On until February 1, 2015.
Oct./Nov. 2014: Himachal Pradesh
2015 Calendar : Malitsa - With The Nenets On The Yamal Peninsula
I'm particularly pleased with this year's edition. The matt paper elegantly brings out the stunning colours of the winter tundra. There's an almost painting like feel to the images.
14 pages on a free standing black board with ringed wire hanging.
The calendar always sells out so order now from the Shop page while they are still in stock.
October 2014: Central Nepal
A week in central Nepal.
A slideshow of all the good things we came across there.
Aug./Sept. 2014: Gujarat
August and September are festival months in the semi desert areas of western Gujarat. We took in five, notable among them the Saang Wari and Bhed Mata fairs. The spectacle of 500 camels heading towards the temple at Kotda for their annual blessing was something else! The fairs, plus the wandering Rabari shepherds and traditional bunga architecture in the Banni, made for a fascinating trip.
August 2014: Taiwan
A small selection of photographs from the summer in Taiwan. Travels took me to the east coast, central mountains and some of the north's most spectacular areas. Easy to understand why the first Portugese explorers named the island Ile Formosa (the "beautiful island") .
For a slideshow version, click here.
April/May 2014: Coastal Fujian & W. Guanxi
Xiapu County in Fujian has a long established aquaculture industry where, traditionally, many of those engaged in it have lived in floating houses. Spring is kelp season and it was much in evidence on our visit. From there we headed to the rugged karst mountains of Napo County on the Guanxi/Yunnan border and its Zhuang and Yi villages, two of which were celebrating their fourth month festivals.
The slideshow is here.
March/April 2014: Russian Arctic
Two weeks with the nomadic Nenets reindeer herders of the Yamal peninsula. Where: 500km north of the Arctic circle. Temperatures: -25º C. Accommodation: Reindeer skin teepee ("Chum"). Clothes: Reindeer skin "malitsa" & "kisy". Food: Raw reindeer meat. A remarkable experience in a remarkable land with remarkable people!
February 2014: Shan State & Central Thailand
A week staying in villages in the E. Shan State, where in Ban Nong we came across the unusual funeral rituals of the Eng, before crossing into Thailand and a few days at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Sukhothai, the first Thai capital.
January 2014: N. Taiwan
A set of photographs of Taiwan's red brick "U" shaped courtyard farmhouses and temples. Known as "san-ho" or three-sided structures, their distinctive swallow tail roofs are in the classic Chinese architectural style. Many of these buildings are falling into disrepair. The Taiwan government is finally providing financial support to help maintain some of the most architecturally outstanding examples.
Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014 : N.E. Burma, N. Laos & S. Yunnan
December & January are the perfect months for the multi day walks needed to reach the highland villages of Burma and Laos. With many of the resident ethnic groups enjoying their New Year celebrations, it was an excellent opportunity to photograph the usually shy, and opium loving, Loma and Pala as well as the Khmu, all of whom were dressed in their finest. From Phongsali we crossed the border into Yunnan to visit Dai, Yao and Hani groups with the highlight being an invitation to a wonderful village wedding of the latter.
2014 Calendar : Villages
The 2014 edition is on release now. This year's subject is "Villages" featuring some of Asia's most unusual and beautiful. 13 photographs on a free standing black board with ringed wire hanging.
See the Shop page for more details and how to order.
Sept./October 2014: W. India & N. Laos
A first visit to the fascinating Indian state of Gujarat with its remarkable architecture and people. The trip highlight had to be the time spent with the wandering Rabari shepherds and their families who travel an annual migration route carrying their belongings on camels and donkeys and sleeping in the open.
Images in the highlighted galleries.
July/August 2013: Yunnan, W. Guanxi & S. Guizhou
Two of the major frustrations of travel in China, execrable roads and unreliable information, this trip had in spades. After a wasted week in Yunnan, the karst scenery of W. Guanxi was a pleasant surprise and moving onto Guizhou more spectacular scenery was to be found with the rice terraces at their greenest.
July 2013: Tibetan Plateau
A 2,500+km meander across the Tibetan Plateau starting in Lanzhou and ending in Kangding. Highlights included a first visit to the astonishing religious academy at Yaqing with its more then 10,000 jaemu (nuns) and the Cham dances at the Yazer Gon monastery in Manigango. Motorcycles have now replaced horses as the herders' choice of transport on the high grasslands though the majestic vistas, enhanced on the last afternoon by stormy weather that brought out several stunning full rainbows, are difficult to surpass.
June 2013: Jammu & Kashmir
A shorter than intended visit to the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, shorter because a fair portion of the trip was spent waiting for flights in Delhi airport! Ladakh didn't disappoint though with its dramatically located monasteries and stark terrain softened only slightly by days of deep blue cloudless skies. Truly a harsh environment.
Trip photographs can be found in the Jammu & Kashmir galley.
May/June 2013: Ryukyu Islands & Taiwan's Central Mountains
A week exploring the Keramas and other nearby islands off the west coast of Okinawa. Scenically beautiful and little visited, this is one of Asia's least polluted environments. Less prominent in the tourism literature are mentions of the closing days of WWII when more than 500 islanders jumped to their deaths from the cliffs in mass suicides.
Back in Taiwan, courtesy of Peresang Sung, I had the rare opportunity to attend a wedding of Rukai royalty in Pingtung county.
March/April 2013: Shan State & N. Vietnam
With relations between the Burmese government and the armies that control the ethnic areas improving, it was time to explore some new areas. After a short expedition to the Eng outside Kengtung who were busy with their annual thatching, with the consent of the local militias I was able to reach usually off limits areas north of Lashio where there are interesting Hmong, Lisu and Palaung groups that I hadn't previously visited.
From there it was onto northern Vietnam and the spectacular scenery of the Dong Van plateau. Having put a thousand plus km. on the motorcycles through some dramatic landscapes, there was still plenty of terrain left unvisited so a return trip in hopefully better Autumn weather is called for.
Jan./February 2013: S.E. Guizhou & N. Laos
For once the weather in Guizhou cooperated making normally impassable dirt tracks to higher areas navigable. Beautifully constructed wooden villages, stunning terraced valleys and clear skies made for pefect photographic conditions. From there it was onto Laos for an exploratory trip to the ethnically vibrant northern province of Phongsali.
January 2013: E. India
The Indian wildlife authorities can congratulate themselves on a job well done at the Kaziranga Park in Assam. More than 2,000 one horned rhinos, a similar number of elephants and, it is thought, somewhere around 100 tigers though few people are lucky enough to glimpse one of the latter. After a few days at Kaziranga, and some great game viewing, it was off to Chhattisgarh and Orissa to visit some of the "Adivasi" (indigenous) groups whose architecture, jewellery & markets are markedly different from those of India's non-Adivasi communities.
November 2012: Exhibition In Taipei
My new exhibition opens this Tuesday (Nov. 20th). Theme : "Women Of Guizhou". Place : Qian Restaurant Gallery, Dihua Jie. Great food, cool atmosphere and images of women from some of Guizhou's lesser known areas.
More at the Qian blog including a map link.
On until Mar. 3, 2013.
December 2012: S. Yunnan
A market tour of southern Yunnan plus a spectacular Yao "dujie" (coming of age) ceremony in a mountain village close to the border with Vietnam. The highlight of the event was a test of courage where the 12 & 13 year old boys had to fall backwards from a high platform into a vine net. Spectacular!
September 2012: Chubu
The "gassho style" farmhouses of Chubu are notable for their steeply pitched thatched roofs which allow the frequent heavy snow to slide off more easily. A World Heritage Site, the villages of Shirakawa, Gokayama & Ainokura are some of the most atmospheric in Japan and a meal (accompanied by liberal drafts of saki!) around the hearth of a gassho house can be a memorable occasion.
2013 Calendar : Women Of Guizhou
I have just received from the printers the first batch of my limited edition 2013 desktop calendar. This year's subject is "Women Of Guizhou". 13 beautiful photographs on a ringed wire hanging on black board.
See the Shop page for more details and how to order.
August 2012: Shan State
A quick trip to the Hoi Yang villages in the Kengtung area for their annual swing festivals. A fascinating day at Hoi Yang II watching the construction of their swing followed by the opportunity to capture digitally the highly photogenic Akha women in their festival best.
August 2012: S. Sichuan
10 days with the Nuosu Yi in the Daliangshan (Greater Cool Mountains) region of southern Sichuan. Until 1949 this was essentially an independent Yi kingdom, Han and other visitors requiring specific permission to enter the territory. Even today, it has some of the highest mono ethnic concentrations in China with some counties having a population more than 95% Yi. Traditions and culture remain correspondingly strong.
Highlights of the trip included the markets - Tuo Mu Shan was a particular favourite with its fortune telling bimaws, seamstresses and outdoor dentists - as well as the bull and ram fighting events that are held around torch festival time when I was there.
The apogee of the trip, in several ways, had to be the funeral I attended on a mountain high above the Xide valley. I was initially hesitant about the probity of taking photographs but it transpired that the deceased had lived to an unusually advanced age (78 is high longevity for Sichuan mountain farmers) and had a passed away of natural causes. Thus the event was a celebration of his life rather than the grieving that would have accompanied a younger unnatural death.
July 2012: Website Launch
It's been a long time in the making but it's finally here.
The core of the site is self evidently the Galleries. They are arranged by geography, by people (ethnic groups) and thematically.
The search function has more than 40 pre-defined searches so that anyone looking for, say, all the images of headwear, can find them in one place. Specific search words can also be input.
The Journal will be updated regularly whenever I'm back from a trip or something of note such as an exhibition I'm contributing to is coming up.
The Links page is in its infancy. Over time I hope to make it a comprehensive resource for all things ethnic in Asia.
Lastly there's a Shop section where my calendars can be purchased.
I hope that viewers of the site will find it a user friendly experience and enjoy the site as much I have putting it together. In this context it would be remiss of me not to mention the contributions of my two assistants, Nathan Lin and Jenny Hsu, without which this site would not have been possible.
June 2012: N. Xinjiang
I hadn't been to Xinjiang since 2009 and was looking forward to a return visit. We were a month later than the previous trip, thereby unfortunately missing the annual migrations of the Kazakh herders who by the time of our arrival were up in the high pastures.
We did however achieve our main objective which was to attend the annual aobao festivals of the Tuva at Kanas and Hemu, a major component of which is the horse races. Cooperative weather and late evenings also made for some great shots of the, for China, unique "A" roofed wooden villages. It was nice to have some return for the enormous entry fees the local authorities charge to enter these areas!
Photos are on the second page of the Xinjiang gallery.
May 2012: N.W. Yunnan
A quick trip to Nujiang in N.W. Yunnan.
The Nu is one of the three great rivers of western China, rising on the Tibetan plateau and flowing south parallel to the Burmese border. It has carved a deep narrow valley, almost a gorge in some places. Upper Nujiang is difficult to reach. It took me 15 hours on a bus from Baoshan, the nearest airport 300km to the south.
I based myself in Gongshan and made day trips into the surrounding mountains. The roads are execrable. Most villages are only reachable on foot or by horse. Trip highlights included a long day at the Tibetan Christian villages perched high on the mountain above Dimaluo and a day in Qiulatong, a group of Nu hamlets on the old caravan route to Tibet. I also came across a Dulong woman in Fugong with a full facial tatto. Much as I wanted to photograph her, it wasn't appropriate. Maybe next time.........
The photos appear on page 15 of the Yunnan gallery.