Solveig Boergen, a German photographer, travelled to far western Nepal to photograph the Rana Tharus. Her amazing photographs feature the daily life of Rana Tharus. Speaking to Voice of Tharus, she said that she would like to return to the land of Rana Tharus to document cultural events, a wedding or other festivities.
Voice of Tharus (VOT): Welcome to Voice of Tharus. Can you tell a little bit about yourself to our readers?
Solveig Boergen (SB): I am a German photographer who came to Japan in 1991. After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, our family of four moved to Thailand and then to Nepal where we lived until 2013.
While in Nepal, I encountered many families in the Himalayas who have never had their pictures taken and so the idea for my project 'Portraits for Nepal' was born.
On this Facebook page I show some of the images that I took, edited and delivered to many families over the time we spent in Nepal.
VOT: Your love for photography took you to far western Nepal. Can you tell how the idea of photographing the Rana Tharus came to your mind?
SB: When I was planning for my Master's thesis in the late 80s, I was fascinated with a matriarchy in China, the Naxi minority and had hoped to be able to write about them. Unfortunately, I did not find enough material in Chinese about them in those days and had to work on another topic, but the interest for matriarchal societies stayed with me and when we moved to Nepal, I tried to find out if there are similar minorities living in the Himalayas.
VOT: How was your experience photographing the Rana Tharus?
SB: It took me quite some time to find a connection with the Rana Tharu community, but after I had found this very informative blog by Sanjib Chaudhary, I found the courage to write to him and he kindly helped me to find my way to the beautiful Rana Tharu people who live very hidden in the jungles close to the border to India.
We spent only a few days with them but due to their kindness learned so many things about their culture and customs.
VOT: Your photographs have helped the Rana Tharus reach global audience. Can you share with our readers what are your plans on sharing the pictures to a wider audience?
SB: I am hoping to show these images here in Japan if there is interest and am working on creating a book too. This will be an ongoing project as I really would like to travel back and capture more scenes.
VOT: Do you plan to return to the land of Tharus once again? If yes, what would be your focus in the next photo commission?
SB: I am certainly very interested in going back. Last time, my focus was on observing daily life. Next time, I would be very interested in documenting cultural events, a wedding or other festivities.
If there is interest, I would be very happy to guide a group of photographers who want to get a glimpse into the fascinating life of the Rana Tharus.