Stills from Kibber Photographs by Amit Verma from one of the highest villages on Earth

Kibber is in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh state of Northern India. It is situated in the Himalayas at the elevation of around 14,200ft. Also, one of the highest permanently inhabited villages in the world, which is connected by road. It has a school, post office and a polling station during the elections. Around 80 houses have the population of almost 400 people. The area has one of the most fertile lands in the valley, local community’s main occupation is agriculture based while small number of people works with state government too.

I spent almost half a day in this village and most of the time I was walking in and around the village.

Tibetan architecture gives a uniform and unique look to this small village. Interestingly, the rooftops of the houses were made of mud, small branches and twigs. As the village is situated in earthquake prone zone, it also provides cushion and insulation during heavy snowfall. All the houses were painted in white and their architecture made me to think for possible monochrome conversions of my images. The shape of windows and their black coloured frames were providing unique perspective for the compositions.

It was a cloudy day and the dark clouds were adding lot of drama and texture to the local landscape. As most of the locals were out in their farms, the streets of the village had a unique feel to them. These kinds of villages represent their inhabitants, yet walking in empty streets had a great impact on me. The streets were deserted, but I could feel the life in the air, couple of children were having fun while old folks were busy in their daily routines. Interestingly, I noticed that no one locked his house while going out, which shows an important aspect of the locals for their faith in the community.  I was enjoying the silence and could able to concentrate more on the beauty of streets and the whole look and feel of the place. I guess my Leica M (type 262) was also playing a big role in the whole process. The total experience was amazing, as the unique aspect of creating your images through complete manual process forces you to slow down, think about every single frame you want to capture and in the end, photographer certainly has special bond with every single image he creates.

The best part of my visit to Kibber was ruins of the old houses situated outside of the village. The ruins were adding a certain kind of tranquillity to the landscapes behind them. The harsh weather condition had taken toll on them. Unfortunately, there was no one to tell the story of those ruins but I could feel some part of the life which still they were holding from their past…

About Amit Verma:

Amit Verma is a New Delhi based photojournalist who specializes in editorial photography especially portraits. Currently affiliated with Forbes India magazine, he has worked for various international magazines in the past eleven years of his career.  Presently he is working on couple of long-term projects in monochrome. 

To know more about Amit’s work, please visit his official website.

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7 comments

  • I am seeking advice about working in black and white with my M 240 and M 262.
    Which is to prefer:
    – Taking the picture with the camera set on black and white
    – Taking the picture with the camera set on colour and then convert to black and white in Camera RAW
    Thanks for any help.
    With best wishes
    Pehr Thermaenius

    • Hi Pehr. Thanks for your comment. I personally prefer to set my M(262) JPG settings to B&W while shooting DNG and JPG. It helps me to judge the light better as the preview comes in monochrome. Later I process my DNG files in Lightroom to get the desired results. Also, sometimes I give final touches in Photoshop…

  • Amazing work amit verma . …photographs are beautiful…makea me want to go to the village

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