People & Culture

Q&A with photographer Harry Bohm

  • Mar 16, 2015
  • 407 words
  • 2 minutes
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The world is host to some incredible stories, and photographer Harry Bohm wants to tell them. Currently working and travelling with the Laura Louie Hope Projects, Bohm drew our attention with one particular story, told through a series of stunning images. Bohm met Budhimaya Tamang while visiting a village called Kafir in the Darjeeling district of India. Budhimaya and her family provide a safe haven for sick children who have run out of options. We talked to Bohm, a Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, about meeting and photographing Budhimaya and he gave some advice for photographing in countries like India.

How did Budhimaya’s story impact you?

She humbled me. She does all this when she can barely make ends meet for her family. Imagine an uneducated woman — a housewife — who cooked, cleaned the house, worked the gardens, sold her produce, put her three now-young-adult children through school and post-secondary education and still cares for the village children, who others have given up on and essentially left to survive on their own. Anything I have done in my life pales in comparison to hers.

Why did you choose to share her story? What do you want people to take away from it?

Most poor people will give you food and hospitality to make you comfortable in their homes at the expense of not even having enough to eat for themselves. I wanted to share Budhimaya’s story with others to make them aware that humanity comes in many forms and many ways.

I love photography and am glad I had the ability to photograph Budhimaya and her home. Everyday I meet amazing people over here that you could write volumes about, so I might concentrate on those stories in the next year. But we will continue to follow Budhimaya’s life closely and, of course, visit her village when we can.

Do you have any tips on taking photos in Third World countries?

Don’t look at these places over here as Third World or even exotic. Inside the exterior of these scenes, you’ll see that the people have the same hopes and fears as we do. Try and capture that feeling of life, of happiness, of sadness, of despair, of suffering, of joy, of wonder — all those things that you also feel.

Click the photo below for a slideshow

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