by Liz Ream
Recently, Switzerland-based adventure photographer David Carlier took a roadtrip that was far from ordinary. Then again, the NH1 is no ordinary road. This road follows the Pakistani border and is dangerous for multiple reasons, the first being that it’s the oldest conflict region registered by the UN, opposing Indian, Pakistani and China. Secondly, the road section can lead to a very unpredictable journey due to remoteness, constant landslides, mud, monsoons, traffic jams and very narrow unstable sections.
As David says, it can be “a traveler’s nightmare.” However, for him, traveling this road was a dream scenario:
I love to tell stories with my pictures, and here the story becomes obvious straight out of the gate. Feeling the tension among the truck drivers chatting on the side of the road, the heavy monsoon rain coming in, the late afternoon transition from daylight to darkness, every moment offered great occasions to visually tell the story of the everyday life of those drivers.
David photographed this road for a personal project, while en route to a buddhist festival with his wife and their 5-year-old son. For David, personal work is a necessity:
For me a personal project is not about snapping shots randomly. It’s an opportunity to imagine a concept, without any constraints, and then create along the lines that I defined.
To overcome the challenges of the conflict zone and the complexity of traveling with family, David had a clear plan of what he was looking for as far as images. He found a good driver and researched the region extensively beforehand in order to ensure success.
For David, the relationships he formed along the way was the best part of the trip:
I think every shoot has something to teach, especially when you push yourself outside the box creatively. In this case, the creative aspect is very important, but also the relationships we built with people we met along the way. At dawn, as the tension among drivers was rising, two women dressed in white appeared, out of the dark, on foot, on that muddy road. Like two angels they passed next to me. I shot a single frame. She is walking really close to the edge with elegance. (Photo below.) This is the kind of tiny moments you remember for a long time, both visually and spiritually.
For more of David’s work, check out his website.