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Nepal

Raj Bahadur Gurung

Photographer: Murray Ballard

I'm interested in the legacy of The British Empire. The Gurkhas had come to my attention due to the campaign, publicly headed by Joanna Lumley, to provide all Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in Britain.

I contacted The Gurkha Welfare Trust who organised for me to meet and photograph five retired Gurkhas. I met Raj Bahadur Gurung at his home in Plumstead, South London. It was the last meeting of the day and this photograph was the final frame of the shoot.

Raj served in the British Army between 1948 and 1963. After leaving the army he returned to Nepal and worked as a farmer. In 2010 he came to live in the UK with his daughter and son-in-law, who also served as a Gurkha in the British Army between 1979 and 1992.

My large-format 5x4 inch view camera necessitates the use of slow film, which requires lots of light. As it was getting dark, I asked Raj to stand outside. For me, the way the sun is going down in the background and the subject lit by a dull dusky light is what makes the picture work.

by Murray Ballard, photographer - www.murrayballard.com

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