Best Photograph, Mountain Culture
Banff Mountain Photography Competition
Her cheeks flush from tending sheep in frigid pastures, seven-year-old Marbet, an ethnic Kyrgyz girl in Afghanistan, poses for French photographer Matthieu Paley on July 22, 2008.
Part of a nomadic group, Marbet inhabits the poor, nearly inaccessible mountain region of Little Pamir. Though largely untouched by Afghanistan's wars, residents contend with opium addiction, nonexistent health facilities, and high mortality rates, Paley said in a statement.
"Prior to my five-week solo expedition," he said, "the last visit in winter by a westerner to Afghan Kyrgyz was in 1972."
Photograph courtesy Matthieu Paley, Banff Mountain Photography Competition