fine art prints by National Geographic photographer Matthieu Paley

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Near the eastern end of the inhabited Wakhan corridor, where roads dwindle to footpaths, a girl twists the tail of the family cow to hurry it toward their home in the village of Nishtkhowr.


Lost Highway

“My name is Om, only Om.” He was young and smiling.

“I left before sunrise. I am walking from my home in Hoshangabad to the temple of Salkanpur, up on that hill. You see, I just got a job, I need to thank the gods! İ will return home tonight.”

I had not realized he was barefoot, wearing a freshly ironed shirt but no shoes.

Panshamdal, Kunti & Dalba

Lost Highway

Traffic is crazy, my van is on the side of the road, I record sound: “How many months have you been walking?”

“It’s been 16 months.” It’s reflected in the guy’s beards, they shaved it at the beginning of their walk and didn’t touch it after that.

“How many kilometres a day?

“We walk about 12km daily” 

“Which length of Parikrama (pilgrimage) are you doing?”

“We are doing the auspicious 3 years, 3 months, 3 days. We are Panshamdal, Kunti Bai and Dalba Yar.”

We hug and I leave.

Pegish I

From the Steppes

Pegich kept circling the flames, busy as she was, mending the fire, preparing diner. The wife of Er Ali Boi, she is named after the Wakhi village she was born in, a week walk down the valley. Most Afghan Kyrgyz woman have their blouses decorated with shiny pretty things – trinkets gathered over the years, as well as with old family heirlooms.

Qyzyl Qorum I

To The Snow

Tella Bu and her sisters head out early morning to a spring, a short walk away from the Khan’s camp. Of course, it had frozen hard overnight, so they broke the ice with a metal bar. Then they filled the buckets and load them on the family camel, back to camp to make tea.

Raje Krishna

Lost Highway

You couldn’t miss him—such colors! On his throat is written the word “Krishna”. He is a traditional performance artist known as a behurupiya.

“I am Raje Krishna on my way to the temple, that’s who I am!”

Rakaposhi II


Rakaposhi, also known as Dumani (“Mother of Mist”) in North Pakistan, is the 27th highest mountain in the world (7788 m – 25.551 ft). Measured from base to summit, it has an uninterrupted ~6000 meters vertical rise which, in a way, makes it the tallest free standing mountain in the world. It was first climbed by a British-Pakistani team in 1958 – and not many times after that. I remember how stunned I was the first time I saw this giant popping out of the landscape – I didn’t know what mountains were before I saw that.