Nadja Wohlleben

Photographer
     
GEO magazine publication of my long-term project about the fearless Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas
Location: Berlin, Germany
Nationality: German
Biography: NADJA WOHLLEBEN   is an independent photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Berlin, Germany. In her work, she focusses on stories of resilience in the feminine human landscape. Nadja is specifically interested in stories about... MORE
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GEO magazine publication of my long-term project about the fearless Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas
nadja wohlleben
Oct 13, 2023
Location: Nepal
Summary
I am beyond proud to announce that my long-term project following the fearless Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas has finally been published in GEO magazine today!

I am beyond proud to announce that my long-term project following the fearless Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas has finally been published in GEO magazine today!

In March 2019, I first photographed the Kung Fu Nuns in their main nunnery in Kathmandu, the Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery, and then in July 2019 I traveled to Ladakh, India, to document the nuns teaching a week-long self-defense workshop to young Indian females.
 
In September 2019 I pitched the story to GEO and to my great joy, Lars Lindemann, then director of photography of GEO, immediately said that he wanted to continue working on this powerful story with me and send me back to India/ Nepal together with a GEO magazine staff writer.

In November 2019, His Holiness, the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual leader of the Buddhist Dragon order, traveled to Berlin, Germany, for a climate conference, where I was fortunate enough to meet with this living Buddha. He gave me his blessing to come back to India in April 2020, and document the Cycle Yatra through the Himalayas, on which HH and the nuns embark every year to promote environmental awareness.
 
Then, in February 2020, the pandemic broke out and since then, the project was on hold, and it was uncertain if we were ever going to be able to realize it together.
 
Finally, in March 2023, I was fortunate enough to return to Nepal on assignment for GEO magazine together with brilliant writer Diana Laarz, to accompany the nuns on their Cycle Yatra through Nepal’s Mustang region.
 
Today, the story was finally published in GEO magazine. I cannot express enough gratitude to everyone who helped come this dream assignment come true:
 
Firstly, I would like to thank the Kung Fu Nuns and His Holiness from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me into their world and for trusting me with documenting their fascinating story.
 
Many thanks go out to GEO magazine, and its previous director Lars Lindemann for giving me my dream assignment, GEO reporter Diana Laarz for finding the perfect words to illustrate the fearlessness of the Kung Fu Nuns, and to Anja Jöckel, GEO’s photo editor who finalized this publication with me, for her beautiful and thoughtful edit.

Many thanks go out to Live to Love, the NGO who was initiated by HH, and its German director Gianna Wabner, who helped me tremendously in making this happen.
 
My heartfelt thanks also go out to VG Bild-Kunst, who gave me a grant in 2019 to work on this project in the first place.
 
Many thanks also go out to Canon and Martin Wieser, who lent me wonderful equipment on my latest trip to Nepal.

When I was 15 years old, I first had a subscription for GEO magazine. Seeing all this powerful photography in GEO back then, made me dream of becoming a photographer and to be published in the magazine one day. Today, over 20 years later this dream became a reality.
 
Always continue chasing your dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. Anything is possible, if only you dream it, believe it, and work hard for it.
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GEO magazine publication of my long-term project about the fearless Kung Fu Nuns of the Himalayas by Nadja Wohlleben
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