The Final Countdown

We are trembling with anticipation here at VCP. A year’s worth of tireless work is finally culminating between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow on the street outside of our apartment. Our first book, “Mustang: Lives and Landscapes of a Lost Tibetan Kingdom” is arriving from the printer. At 1 p.m. today, we received a phone call from the freight company saying the books would arrive one day ahead of schedule. We felt the first pangs of anxiety-riddled excitement that I imagine parents feel when their child is about to enter the world.

Taylor after one of his many trips to Upper Mustang to photograph the Loba.

Creating the book was a labor of love, not only for the act of documenting a unique culture, but also for the culture itself. The Loba, who live in Mustang, live a fascinating lifestyle. The people we befriended while documenting this remote Himalayan former kingdom will likely remain our friends forever. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally) that went into the creation of this book, and nothing would make us happier than for the world to read about these hardy mountain people, to be inspired by them, and to intimately get to know another intriguing corner of the world.

Right now, life as the Loba know it is about to completely change. Their lives have been sheltered from the modernizing world since roughly the 1400s. They still plow their fields with yak-cows, live in mud-brick houses built 500 years ago, and burn cow dung for heat. But now, with a new highway being built through their remote community, the modern world is being brought to them by the truckload. How will this affect their ancient way of living?

To bring you this information, we went for weeks without bathing, got badly sunburnt, grew callouses on our feet bigger than your thumb, bloodied various digits, braved altitude sickness, survived untreated water…and basically had the time of our lives. It was an amazing experience, and tomorrow, we’ll get to share it all with you.

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