May 28, 2014

Auckland Writers Festival 2014: "The Conquest of Everest" with Huw Lewis-Jones

Guest post by Doreen, Community Outreach, Central City Library.


One word is all most of us need and we can see the photographic images of that famous mountain.

syndetics-lcWhat a story Lewis-Jones had to tell. Those times he spent with George Lowe while researching and gathering information to put the book together. He had a captive audience, as we all enjoyed his humour and the personal stories of the journey which was the making of his book The conquest of Everest: original photographs from the legendary first ascent.

When the photographer on the trip of 1953 became ill, Lowe was available to take on the role (although he had no previous experience), giving him some wonderful photographing opportunities. He was in the lead going up for much of the climb, ensuring the possibility of the famous shots of Hillary and Tenzing from a higher location and then looking up to take the photos of that famous descent from the summit. Capturing those everyday moments where opportunities presented themselves, George Lowe was the invisible man on the trip, taking his place behind, rather than in front of the camera.

Having done the Base Camp trek last year, I can understand the attraction that the region holds. The Khumba glacier, the glorious mountains every which way, the enormity of it all. Walking through the rhododendrums, many still in flower in May. The journey is the people, the views, the experience is too precious to miss.

The final photo in the book is of great interest to me. The Himalayan Trust was to be set up by George Lowe and Ed Hillary to support Sherpa, after finding their guides and friends who had featured in the photo had become ill and passed away, having not had access to medicine. I always remember the endings and I felt the mood change when we were reminded that these feats would not have been possible without the Sherpa. There were murmurs of agreement from the audience.

Huw, you held us in the palm of your hand right until the very end. What an adventure!

Huw Lewis-Jones (photo by Nigel Millard, New York, 2010)

Ditulis Oleh : Karen Craig // 22:55


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