Editor's note: Thomas L. Kelly is an American photographer who has lived in Kathmandu for three decades; Liam Kelly, his son, was born in Nepal and is also a photographer.
In the aftermath of natural disasters, there are always some photographers who capture pictures of those suffering without their permission, taking away their dignity. I believe that with compassion and reciprocity, a photographer who is willing to stay and be a part of a place and its community can capture the depth of an authentic relationship.
When this encounter occurs, the camera is a tool for building resiliency, not for re-traumatizing.
Saturday's earthquake hit home for me, literally shaking our house and family on Saturday. As an American photojournalist based in Nepal for 30 years, I’ve documented development projects, politics and traditional heritage. But shooting the quake's aftermath is the first assignment I've ever done with my son Liam, 19, who was born in Nepal. We both speak Nepali and consider Kathmandu home. (Read Nepal's 8 Key Historic Sites: What's Rubble, What's Still Standing.)
My son and I are working on adrenaline. The irrevocable images of the dead pulled from the rubble, the crowded ghats of burning bodies, the destruction of precious heritage sites, combine in my mind and heart with the unity and service of Nepalese volunteers who poured in to help. Nepal’s mountains are some of the most precariously volatile and fragile in the world, resting on two tectonic plates, and yet Nepalese people are some of the most resilient. (See 20 Pictures That Reveal Nepal's Devastation).
Here are my and Liam's photos from the last four days.