Photographing Honey Hunters in the Himalayas

How far would you be willing to go to capture a story? Renan Ozturk, Ben Ayers, Mark Synott, and the rest of the team behind “The Last Honey Hunter” traveled to the other side of the globe in order to record the incredible tale behind one small Nepalese village:

On assignment with National Geographic, the core members behind the project visited a dwindling community nestled in the Himalayas to illustrate the death defying honey harvesting practice that has kept the people afloat. At the time of the documentary’s release, just one man in the village, Mauli Dhan, was still able to participate in the harvest.

Hiking over Himalayan river with bamboo rope

Viewing the footage, it’s easy to see how only the strong willed would be able to perform this task. The massive hives themselves jut out of rocky cliff sides and house thousands of Himalayan honey bees capable of stinging through western beekeeping suits. Without access to the harnesses, clamps, and hiking gear that most experienced climbers rely on, Mauli dangles fearlessly over ledges with nothing more than handwoven bamboo ropes.

Needless to say, the shots bring to life the magic of a culture that functions outside of the limelight and luxuries of the modern world more than words ever could. Though the people and their practices may not be here forever, their way of life has been beautifully and respectfully portrayed for viewers near and far in a medium that will last for years to come.

Mauli Dhan behind the scenes

Collecting honey off of mountain

Harvesting honey from honeycomb

The story of the Last Honey Hunter was recently featured in the July 2017 issue of National Geographic.

“Despite all the challenges we faced, we still had all of our ultra modern equipment. Mauli Dhan didn’t have any of that. He believed in the protection of something I’ll never understand.”

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