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Nepal Picture Library - A mirror to the past

Nepal Picture Library

“If memory is the way people keep telling themselves their stories, then photographs are one of the ways people keep those stories alive.” - Maryanne Garry and Matthew P. Gerrie

Selecting 15 photographs from the extensive digital photo archive at Nepal Picture Library to share in this fundraiser was a nostalgic 26,000 clicks down memory lane. It took us on a journey through time, along well-trodden mountain paths and familiar vistas, by way of ancient cities and century-old landmarks, with lingering stops to witness intimate family celebrations, day-to-day village life and significant political events. 

Photographs and memory are the closest things we have to a concise portrayal of past events. Back in the good ol' days of analog cameras, capturing a picture was the standard way for people to commemorate important events and noteworthy milestones in their lives. The photograph served as the visual memory of life gone by, pasted into albums or enshrined in frames on the wall. 

Memories also link us to our losses. The fact that something is irretrievably gone makes photography all the more poignant. Photographs used as memories gives us something to hold on to. 

In the wake of destruction left behind by the earthquake in April 2015, the effort to hold on to memories of what has been, has gained renewed importance. Fortunately, advanced digital technology makes it possible to preserve ones family albums in digital form, safe from the passing of time and ill-fated tectonic plates. 

The Nepal Picture Library aims to document a comprehensive history of the Nepali people by encouraging individuals and families to contribute their photographs and stories to the archive. The archive has grown significantly since its infancy in 2011 to house over 26,000 digitized photographs that hold up a mirror to past events, giving an insight into history, collective memory and identity. 

We hope that these photographs take you back in time, on a journey, and tell you stories about the past of the Nepali people.

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If you have family albums at home that you wish to preserve, the Nepal Picture Library would love to hear from you.

About Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust

KVPT logoThe Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT) was founded in 1991 with the mission to safeguard the extraordinary and threatened architectural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Over the past two decades, KVPT has saved over 50 historic buildings including temples, step-wells, monasteries, palaces, and homes, and has launched three major campaigns for preservation on an urban scale. KVPT collaborates with community groups, local and international specialists, educational institutions, and the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal. Restoration and conservation operations have initiated key research and training programs, and the KVPT office in Patan Darbar Square has become a resource center for architecture and urbanism in Nepal.