Matthieu Paley@paleyphoto

Living it and then doing latergrams here, sometime IG Story when travelling • National Geographic photographer • @natgeo @natgeocreative

332 posts 347,217 followers 477 following

From my @natgeo story in Lahori youth, link in bio

Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore in Pakistan is full of youthful energy. I shot a story for @natgeo there last year (see link in my profile), a few days spent mostly with art students, feeling their enthusiasm and their respect for each others, listening to that love & hate relationship (often) they have with their country. Mostly portraits. Like anywhere, the youth has a mind of its own, playing with ideas and concept. Here, a model rehearses her walk for a fashion shoot organised by photo students, in Lahore's Walled City. Burqa and headphones on… but this is a whole set-up, playing with stereotypes is very healthy.

Lahore, Pakistan

With looks bridging between that local brooklyn hipster and osama Bin Laden (his words!)... Malek is an amazing desert driver, obsessed with dancing at every stop. He just got the groove and sure, that right level madness to bury himself in the hottest desert in the world. #iran #lutdesert #sandbath @magazinegeo


A counter viewpoint of the previous post, the same night. These are mostly camel herders. There is undeniably something beautiful about their life, but truth is that most of the women told me they wished easy access to school for their kids - so that they could eventually get away from this herding life. #Baluchistan #Iran


After 10 days without meeting anyone, we came across this nomadic tent, on the edge of the Lut desert. The chief sat next to his home under the stars, later offering me a golden pen. His tent felt like an extension of the hills in the distance. @geomagazin #iran #lutdesert #hottestplaceonearth


Lut Desert, Iran. I didn’t expect it. That’s one method to put a tire that came off the rim. When stuck on a desert slope, you could try and spray flammable gaz inside tire and light it on fire - the pressure did put tire back on. Hottest place in the world just got hotter, thanks for taking us there Bijan Jon 🔥🔥🔥 #itworked On assignment for @geomagazin


At night, he would set up this moth catcher and stay next to it, sucking moths into a tube. It took a while to control that word: lepidopterologist (from Greek scale and wing). So, it’s a pro on scales and wings, and this here is Hossein Rajaei, one of the lovely Iranian scientist on that expedition across the Lut desert, the hottest place in the world. He studies moths and butterflies and has traveled the world for this. He had knee pads and sometimes would wear yellow night vision glasses, crazed eyes hoping for a new species. He reminded me of the guy from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He would stay up late, feeding his passion while I crawled into my sleeping bag. When I lost my shoes, he gave me his pair of slippers. Thanks Hossein Jon! #iran #lutdesert #hottestplace #lepidopterologist @geomagazin


A group of Iranian scientists measure the temperature in the world’s hottest place, the Lut Desert in Iran - on this expedition, they recorded 78.2 degrees Celsius (172.7 Fahrenheit) 🔥🔥🔥. “The Earth’s hot deserts such as the Sahara, the Gobi, the Sonoran, and the Lut are climatically harsh and so remote that access for routine measurements and maintenance of a weather station is impractical,” says David Mildrexler at the University of Montana. “The majority of Earth’s hottest spots are simply not being directly measured by ground-based instruments.” That's where satellites come in. Orbiting instruments can scan every parcel of the planet's surface and fill in the gaps in global temperature measurements. In their analysis, scientists scrutinized global measurements of land “skin” temperatures from 2003 to 2009. As opposed to air temperatures, which are measured 1.5 to 2 meters above the ground, land skin temperatures reflect the pure heating of a parcel of ground by radiation from the sun, the atmosphere, and other heat flows. In five of the seven years—2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009—the highest surface temperature on Earth was found in the Lut Desert." On assignment for @geomagazin #lutdesert #iran


From my trip crossing India by train. Last but not least: my favorite Chai wallah comes by to offer his goods… We were some of his best customers!


From tongue scraper to a guy who brushes his teeth. Not any guy. This is my dearest friend Simone @direancreations . We crossed India together in that train. How lucky I am to have friends that are ready to rough it with me. I met Simone many years ago (2000?) in North Pakistan, a mountain place that united us. Kindest human being with a directness in his speech - no talking around the bush, no faking, I like that, there is nothing better than honesty in friendship. @natgeocreative - on assignment for @natgeotravel #italianstyle


Q-tips, chewing tabacco, toothpaste and tongue scrapers - the type with a non gaging cleaning span apparently. Have you ever tried it? A strange thing, am fine with just brushing my teeth; fair enough, the tongue does accumulate stuff. We talked, i might have touched his moustache. i love talking and body language, he had that in him. @natgeocreative #onassignment #tonguescraper @natgeotravel


I just sat there, escaping the heat and soon enough the slow stream of peddlers would start again, popping into my train compartment (no doors) with all sorts of unusual offerings: chai, mangoes, a long puff of air freshener, chain locks, books (lots of Steven Hawking), sweet paan made on the spot, powerbank and weird fuzzy fluorescent handbags. I ended up doing a series on it, trying to be at the same spot with my camera, elbows locked on the tiny table, back leaning hard against the window, shaken around. The hard working new comer makes his way down the compartment shouting away what incredible deals he has on offer. I wait in impatience for the curtain to open and the theatre of life to unravel. That would usually start around 4.30 am... This “baba”came in with bead necklaces and bracelets on offer - soon, he jumped out of the train. Good thing often happen during "down time”, I think flirting with boredom is good for the creative part of the brain, but aren’t we losing the art of boredom? #traintravel #india #onassignment for @natgeotravel @natgeocreative


After many years of preparation and planning, this family is moving from Tamil Nadu to Assam province — the two geographical extremes of India, a 5 days train journey. They will take over the christian missionary work started by their ageing parents. @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #traintravel


After months of working away from their homes and families - all for a better pay - labourers return to north india, a 5 days train journey. Incredible how families, all over the world, get split for months or years, all for the pursuit of money; there is often not much alternative. @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #traintravel


The emergency window - it’s the one without bars, the one where you might be able to climb illegally into the train, or escape in times of trouble; or stick your head out, let your mind wander. It's that thoughtful opening, the lawless one embracing the many horizons. #soulsearching @natgeocreative @natgeotravel


“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don't know and trusting them with your life.” Another classic one from Paul Theroux. Here are my bunk bed neighbours... these 2 women met while getting treatment in a hospital in south India. They were returning home together to Assam, becoming friends on this 5 days train journey across India. @natgeotravel @natgeocreative


“The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, or having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party's extension, being kept waiting all your working life - the homebound writer's irritants. But also being kept waiting is the human conditon.” just one of the many great quotes from Paul Theroux... Here, halfway between Kanyakumari and Dibrugarh, India.


I did a photo series of windows on the train crossing India. Hopping out quickly before the train starts again. Mostly men are travelling. Many people from Assam province (north east India), returning home after working small jobs in Tamil Nadu (south), where they supposedly get a better pay. The train is mostly used by economic migrants, travelling for days to reach a place where they stay for months. Train is the cheapest mean of transportation in India. @natgeotravel

Dibrugarh, Assam

Back from 4 weeks with no communications. Here, from last May when I crossed india by train for @natgeotravel - over 5000km, intense 5 days and 4 nights, an exercise in bringing back sweat, compression and maybe some sleep. See link to this story in my profile, thanks, matthieu.


Over the last month, I have prepared to return to the Afghan Pamir. It will be difficult expedition, on assignment for @natgeo. I said good bye to my family; I am just about to plunge. Many challenges ahead, physical, mental, technical. All to return to a place that has no equal to me. The remoteness that lies ahead is daunting, but I know that when I will be there, I will know why. #gfx50


Back on Instagram, forgive the break :) Here, an unpublished from a story I shot for Vogue last February that just came out (link in my bio), “Love and Marriage in Nepal”. I was in Kathmandu 5 days during the auspicious time for weddings. I had just landed from Turkey and I rushed to this wedding. The Nepali bride (right), looks at her sister, while the groom (he is Indian), calls out for help. Wedding can be a good place to look for a bit of quirky - and a bit of quirky is always good to me. I don’t want to be bored when I photograph, it’s not going to help the image. @voguemagazine


How do you facilitate a good level of happiness in a country? Is it free education/health support, freedom to live out your values, strong community bounds, good climate or just love and delicious coconuts? I am exploring this and more, right now in Costa Rica. Follow me on my IG Stories and soon on @natgeo - Un abrazo mi amor!


Tonight, embarking on a +- 82 hours train journey across the whole length of India - the longest ride in India. Will it be hell, will it be heaven? Certainly a bit of both. For behind the scenes, follow along on my Instagram Story! Here, a dusty wagon from my train trip across China, shot last year. @natgeotravel

Sunrise Point, Kanyakumari

#Repost @natgeo
Photo by @paleyphoto (Matthieu Paley). In Pakistan’s Karakoram mountains, mother and daughter return from collecting fodder for their animals. It’s a two-hour round-trip on foot between their village and the summer pastures. These chores may be done interchangeably by men or women. You can read my story “Home on the Range” in the April issue of National Geographic magazine. @natgeocreative #Pakistan #Karakoram #Wakhi #Gojal


Back home after a month in Iran and Portugal and thrilled to find this in the mail! My latest story in National Geographic magazine. Pinch me it’s a dream. Shot alongside my family in Pakistan’s Karakoram mountains (with the tiny Fujifilm #x100t), it was initially an online only feature, but it ended up as well in the magazine... with my text! This is the part that I personally find hard to believe. I have renewed my admiration for writers... what a perilous job it is to juggle words. For the real thing, get a copy of the magazine (April 2017) or see the link in my Instagram profile.


Pakistan, Gojal region, Karakoram mountains. Young Wakhis dance after celebrating Imamat Day, the yearly celebration that marks the anniversary of the day that their present (or Hazir) Imam succeeded his predecessor. These young men study in big cities away from these mountains, and for them, this celebration is also an important time to relink to their homeland. The girls were playing volleyball nearby. Part of an upcoming @natgeo story coming in April in the magazine. Thanks always to @sajjidalvi for his help out there! @natgeocreative


Look out for this April issue of National Geographic magazine with my story on Pakistan's Karakoram mountains. Here, at a school in the village of Zood Khun, girls play an intense game of cricket during a break. Behind them, a high-altitude trail leads into the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan. It's an amazing region, very happy to be able to share it. Meanwhile I am off to Iran, to the desert and onward surfing in Portugal. Packing confusion. #girlpower @natgeocreative


"And what’s behind that one?” Timoté and iluka and the Taklamakan desert. Xinjiang, China. #sonsofthedesert @paleyography @natgeocreative


Back home after a fantastic time in Pakistan. I will be unearthing some mountain power in the next couple of days, before I am off to Iran.
The Pamir/Hindukush/Karakoram mountains regions (part of the greater Western Himalayas) in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Tajikistan have been my longest obsession as a photographer. I started “working” there back in 1999/2000, unknowing of where I was going - my beard got white over there and I have happily explored most corners of that region - but then soon enough need to return.
This here is a Wakhi household in the lower elevation of the Afghan Pamir; some hectic before food and a young woman showing her ring. My tripod was a plastic drum laying around the kitchen, shot on a Contax 645. In Wakhi language, each part of the house has a specific word for it. This here is by the Dildung - the open hearth. @natgeocreative


Back in Pakistan for a bit - incredible, often misunderstood. Follow me on my Story on Instagram as I roam Lahore day and night, one of my favorite city in Asia! @natgeocreative