Morning Reticence in Nepal

May 25, 2015 | Inspiration

It was with aching hearts that we watched the events unfold recently in Nepal so when the team from the recent Beyond Workshop returned just before this beautiful country experienced a horrific tragedy, it was with a longing to help as many people as possible who were affected by the earthquakes. Nina & Wes Photography, who organised the Beyond Workshop, worked with an amazingly talented team of vendors worldwide to create this beautifully elegant editorial with all proceeds being donated to the people of Nepal and their efforts to restore their country. It's heartbreaking to know that these beautiful film images styled by Abany Bauer were shot in a stunning location, The Fort Resort, that has now been destroyed.

If you are interested in helping the relief efforts that are occurring on the ground in Nepal, there are many amazing organizations that work tirelessly with the people there, not only providing aid right now, but long-term care after many other relief groups have returned back home: Tiny Hands International3 SeamsWaypoint Omaha (Select "Nepal" in the dropdown menu, and 100% of the funds will be given to the Rai Family to further their ability to care for children and the community around them).

From Nina of Nina & Wes Photography: "It is early in the morning on the day of your wedding...the day you will marry the love of your life.  You can't sleep because the anticipation of what is about to occur is overwhelming.  You feel excited and nervous, even a bit giddy, and very hopeful in the still and quiet of this dawn.  You look out the window to see the glorious display of nature come to life.  You hear song birds singing their chorus, welcoming the first light of the day.  It almost feels as if they know that today is different.  Perhaps they know that two hearts will become one today, and their joy cannot be contained.  You make yourself some tea to calm the butterflies that are fluttering about in your belly.  You smile to yourself as you think back on all the moments in your life that have led up to this one day.  This moment belongs wholly to you, and you want to hold onto it for just a bit longer, before the minutes begin to take flight.  In just a few hours, you will marry the one your heart belongs to, but in this moment you will have your morning reticence."  

Just before Wes and I married, I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal for four months, doing volunteer work with street children and elderly women. I grew to love Nepal greatly, and have ached to return ever since. As a wedding photographer, it is easy to get swept away into all the pretty details and amazing people we meet as we capture one of the most special days of their lives on film. But my heart has always been happiest when working to make a difference in the lives of others, which always seems to do the same in my own life when I work towards that goal...

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About 20 months ago, I woke up with an idea about a special kind of photography workshop. I wanted to do something more with our business. I wanted to go beyond business, and do something more in the world...something that would have lasting impact. Most photography workshops focus mainly on building your portfolio and growing your business, which is great and needed. We have attended some of the most amazing workshops out there in years past. But sometimes it can get competitive, and can cause you to lose focus on what is really important in this world...loving others, and giving back what we have been given. The Beyond Workshop focuses not only on encouraging photographers to be successful in their businesses, but to take their success and give back to those in need. We are asking the question...What is the meaning of success? Is it more money, bookings, and bigger houses? Or is it doing your absolute best in what you do, and taking that and giving back to the world that has given so much to you. 

100% of the profits from this workshop go to orphan care and human trafficking interception in Nepal. None of the vendors take any pay, and this year we were able to give almost $8,000 to those in need in Nepal! The first half of the workshop is spent in classroom sessions revolving around business, and the second half of the workshop is spent doing volunteer work in Nepal. We had an amazing group of people this year, that gave everything they could to help this workshop succeed. Each attendee had their own part to play, and as the days unfolded, it was a joy to see each one of them fall in love with the country of Nepal.

The earthquake that occurred on April 25th in Nepal has shaken all of us. So many of the beautiful places we visited, and historical landmarks that we marveled at, are now piles of rubble. As far as we can tell, though, our loved ones and the people at the organizations we volunteered at, are all safe. Some of them have lost homes, but they have escaped the earthquake without injury. For that we are thankful. The earthquake also caused the main building of The Fort Resort to collapse, the resort in which we captured all of these photos. Fortunately, no one was harmed, but our hearts go out to them as they try to rebuild their beautiful property.

This workshop is meant to inspire photographers to go beyond themselves and give back to the world in need. And through sharing images from this session in Nepal, we hope to remind people of the beauty of Nepal, and not the poverty. Nepal is a country rich in history, and the people of Nepal are full of warmth and kindness. Walk down any given street in this enchanting country and have a conversation with may just find that you are invited in for some milk tea.

Some of the industry vendors that donated time or goods to help make our not-for-profit workshop succeed: Magnolia Rouge, Jose Villa, Wild Grace Workshop, Paper Birch Designs, Julie Song Ink, Brown Linen Design, Kraft & Jute, Mrs. Box, Frou Frou Chic, Type A Society, Richard Photo Lab, State Film Lab, Goodman Film Lab, Carol Hannah, Gossamer Vintage, and Jacob Cecil.

A special thanks to Gautam Rai, our Nepali brother who made this workshop truly possible by arranging all of our lodging, meals, and volunteer opportunities. He was our translator throughout our time there, and he also helped our attendees see the importance of documenting the joy and warmth of the people of Nepal, over the poverty of Nepal. He and his wife, Rekha, along with 3 biological children, have adopted 11 beautiful girls, and have devoted their lives to orphan care, and are daily meeting the needs of others with what little they have. Since the earthquake, Gautam has been out in the streets from morning til night helping others. He and his family are a beautiful example of love in action.

Vendor details

Photographer: Nina & Wes Photography | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab | Cinematography: Colletta Films | Venue: The Fort Resort | Flowers: Type A Society | Hair and Make Up: Heather Leigh Artistry | Jewelry: Mickey Lynn | Stylist: Abany Bauer | Slip and Robes: Anthropologie | Model: Natalie Papova


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