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The first panoramics in the Himalayas I took on my trip to Zanskar in the summer of 1976. In this book are selected panoramic photographs from Ladakh, Zanskar, Spiti, Mustang, Kathmandu Valley and Bhutan between 1976 and 2005.
The mountain labyrinth of the Himalayan chain stretches for over 1,200 miles. The highest elevations on Earth are to be found here, and although this rugged mountain world may appear to us stark and inhospitable, and even hostile to life, it has nevertheless been inhabited by man for thousands of years. People arrived here for many different reasons. Many were displaced from other regions and had to take refuge in the mountains; others came voluntarily. Over the course of time, innumerable kingdoms grew up in the Himalayas. Some still exist today, although almost have long since disappeared. Like almost everywhere in the world, the history of these kingdoms is a history of wars, enmities and alliances, domination and suppression, dependencies and power. As many are the traces they have left behind in the cultures of the Himalayas, little was known of them until recently, particularly in the West. This only changed with the Christian missionaries, who were the first to penetrate into the predominantly Buddhist world of the Himalayan kingdoms. They were followed by explorers and adventurers, and finally also by the soldiers and administrators of the colonial powers.
Jaroslav Poncar born 1945 in Prague, has lived in Cologne since 1973 where was professor at the department of imaging sciences of Fachhochschule Köln (Cologne University of Applied Sciences). His photographic projects took him to Africa, Arabia and to Asia, especially to the Himalayas, Tibet, India, Burma, Cambodia and Afghanistan. He retired in July 2010. His main field of photography is travel photography. Until 2005 he was co-director of German Apsara Conservation Project at Angkor Wat. After his retirement in July 2010 he was in Afghanistan on one year assignment as GIZ-CIM (German International Cooperation) expert to photographicaly document the cultural heritage of the country.
In 1976 he took for the first time an panoramic camera to the Western Himalayas - the antique Russian FT-2 - and since that time he specialized on panoramic photography. After 40 years he exposed in Rome the last Ektachrome roll in October 2016... In October/November 2013 he had a two months scholarship in the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome.