‘Slow Road To China,’ is a photographic study of a remote part of northwestern Nepal called Humla and the remarkable people who live there. For centuries, the Himalayas have walled them in, shaping and preserving their way of life. Humla residents consider themselves the last remaining guardians of pure Tibetan culture. As modernity beckons, however, more of the region’s youth are leaving home. One thing in abundance there is a firm sense of identity. However, looming in the background of these photos, is the very real possibility that future generations might forfeit the rich, unique traditions cherished by their elders.
Drew Doggett has made a name for himself in the documentary and fine art world with his photography of some of the planet’s most unique and isolated indigenous cultures. His 2009 solo trip to the isolated Himalayan area of Humla, Nepal, resulted in a book, Slow Road to China, and six gallery exhibitions in New York, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. Omo: Expressions of a People, a collection of photographs from Ethiopia, is the second of several expeditions Doggett has planned as part of this ten-year project. Trained in fashion photography, Doggett creates images that capture a larger, perhaps classical, idea of beauty—one that speaks to worlds beyond the immediate context of his subjects. His photography of these traditional communities encourages Western viewers of all ages to draw links between seemingly disparate cultures. The interaction of landscape and human physicality is a particular focus of his work. Since 2009, Doggett has incorporated a philanthropic element into his artistic pursuits with Art Cares. Thanks to this non-profit project, proceeds from the book and fine art prints of Slow Road to China have already funded all operations at a health center in rural Nepal for a year. In 2012, the Omo collection was accepted into the Smithsonian African Art Museum’s photographic archives. Doggett’s fine art photography is on display in buildings and private collections around the world. He lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina.