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Tibetan Dropka nomads portrait in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region of Nepal

Tibetan Dropka Nomads Portrait
NEPAL Namche Bazaar — Oct 2007 — Tibetan Dropka traders from Ting Ri in Tibet at a market in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region of Nepal. These traders bring various goods over the Nangpa La pass from Chinese-controlled Tibet to sell to Nepalese Sherpas in Khumbu — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

This is one of my favourite portraits from my travels in the Khumbu Himalaya ( Everest region ) of Nepal. These Tibetan Dropka nomads bring cheap Chinese goods to sell to Sherpas over the Nangpa pass and sometimes establish temporary markets to sell their wares. Mostly, they come from the Tibetan village of Ting Ri in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Although a separate ethnic group from the Sherpas, they do share their religion and some customs. Perhaps less so with the Chinese controlling the frontier than when Tibet was an independent country, the Sherpas and the Dropka sometimes marry. The arduous journeys undertaken by these nomads make them the highest traders on Earth and the Dropka of Ting Ri have for around a century been the backbone of many a Himalayan mountaineering expedition, especially the British attempts on Mount Everest from Tibet before it was climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. Notoriously light-fingered, these nomads are the biggest tinkers I’ve ever encountered and I would often see them during many of the treks I did in the spectacular Khumbu Himalaya of Nepal. The image above is part of a photo essay on the Sherpas I am in the process of re-editing.

You can now find this image and others from this blog plus many more from my stock archive on my new high res stock image database.


Falling foul of the spoilt posh-boys mafia at

Last week, after a conversation with the hapless Jes at Alamy Live News, I decided to resign from supplying live news images to Alamy, but as they are sadly one of the only outlets for stock images, I was aiming to keep uploading reportage stock (my commercial stock always being rejected by a Prince of Dweebs, Alan Capel, the ‘Head of Content’).

Having worked one year on and off with Alamy Live News, my experience was that they are not a good outfit to work with, have poor sales and like many other agencies treat photographers quite badly. The crunch came when I was told by Jes – who is seemingly employed as to make James Hall appear competent – that I was not sent any diary information as “sent direct to the nationals”. I explained that any diary information from Alamy Live News would get sent to them. But I was just talking to a scratched record by then, repeating the same old nonsense.

I was soon to find out the content of the head (Capel), so to speak, which would perhaps be an insult to feces…As on Monday, the charming and talented Mr Capel informed me that the entire collection of around 4,000 images I had worked very hard to upload and tag – were to be deleted! As they are now scheduled to be in 44 days.

Mr Capel and I go back to the dawn of Alamy when he berated me for shock – swearing in an email. I subsequently resigned from the agency after he deleted all my files under 28MB without any warning (surprised they have any files with his penchant for arbitrary file deletion). Once again, Capel, came across with his sanctimonious gibberish as the justification for deleting my entire collection from their damned servers.

Needless to say, this has done irreparable damage to my career and destroyed any possibility of continuing as a photojournalist.

One amazing comment in the email from Alan Capel was: “We gave you a second chance after you were rude and abusive before, it seems you haven’t changed…You leave us no option but to terminate your contract with Alamy.”

The mind does boggle…All I did was write quite legitimate complaints about the Live News service being rubbish. However, all this bullying on the part of Alan Capel¬† says volumes about Alamy…i) The let a lunatic like this manage their ‘QC’ ii) They do not understand or care about photographers, just money.

In short, I’m a victim of this horrible company which is mostly run by sad, spoilt rich kids from Oxfordshire. I would therefore recommend that any photographer who reads this would be sensible to steer well-clear of these vicious corporate robots (nevermind their weird moral judgements), because as this sorry tale clearly shows, they are ruthless…


Autumn comes to Cromer Norfolk England UK

UK Cromer -- 13 Oct 2013 -- Cromer Pier amidst gale force winds, heavy rain and rough seas at high tide -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell
UK Cromer — 13 Oct 2013 — Cromer Pier amidst gale force winds, heavy rain and rough seas at high tide — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/

There is something magic about the coast of the British Isles at all times of the year and while many only head to the coast in fine weather, even when there is a gale blowing and the rain is verging on torrential, the coast can be exhilarating to behold.

I am fortunate enough to have traveled around most of the coastline of the British Isles and so headed over to Cromer in the county of Norfolk to get some weather images for the UK national newspapers. Sadly, the old laptop I was using had problems functioning (I often think that Windows XP was coded by the Devil himself!) and I was a little late getting the images out and all that on top of a mid-afternoon high tide. As usual, nothing was used the next day!

Editing the images on my desktop, I came across this image I took just before departing from Cromer and thought it captured the atmosphere of the autumn sea perfectly and decided therefore to edit it in mono as a moody landscape, to which much of the light of these isles often lends itself in months outside of spring and summer.