fine art prints by National Geographic photographer Matthieu Paley

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Snow blowing into China. View from Manara camp towards Tegirmensuu valley. Beyond the mountains in the distance is China. The Bam-e-Dunya, the  ‘Roof of the World’ was also dubbed the ‘Third Pole’ by early explorers like Francis Younghusband.

Tella Bu II


The woman facing us is Tella Bu. This was 2012 and I had first met her in 2005, in her father’s yurt, the chief of the Afghan Kyrgyz community. She wore a red veil then, a sign that she was not married. A few months after her wedding, her red veil was replaced by this white one.


Töö I


A Bactrian camel sits out a snow storm. These beasts of nature are native to the steppes of Central Asia where they have been used as pack animals along the Silk Road since ancient times. They have an incredible tolerance for cold, high altitude or drought and belong to a small group of animals that regularly eat snow to provide their water needs. The latent heat of snow and ice is enormous compared with the heat capacity of water, demanding a large sacrifice in heat energy and forcing animals to eat only small amounts at a time.

Tsast Uul


I peeked out the tent to see this. We had  just trekked up Tsast Uul, one of the highest mountains in Mongolia. You would think we were alone, but in Mongolia horse riders would spot our tent from miles away and spontaneously stick their heads inside, just like we would walk into their gers.



It was the night before we climbed Woolio-e Sar, an unclimbed 6000m peak in the Karakoram in Pakistan near the border with China. We bivouacked right here below a huge boulder high above  the Shimshal Pamir. Me and my friend Bruno woke up at 4am and found our way up.

Woolook Bu


Blanket-draped yaks hunker down outside a young couple’s yurt on the eve of a summer trading journey. Made of interlaced poles covered with felt, these portable homes are packed up and reassembled for seasonal migration. Wooden doors are imported to the treeless plateau from lower altitudes.



The first time I saw someone smoking opium. I was hesitant to photograph. The younger son of the Khan, Wuruchan Noor Ullah, the ‘king’ of the Kyrgyz. It was raining outside, he was just back from patrolling the Tajik border, some yaks had gone missing, strolling into another country. Afghanistan.



It was one of these covered days that I like very much. They invited me in, a wedding was happening next door and I needed a break. They had pulled a blanket in front of their door to keep the guests warm.



The first time crossing the hanging bridge near Passu in Pakistan’s Karakorum mountains. A stressful experience looking at the water rushing below. And then this grandmother just trotted through, like a breeze. Humbled.