The Image: Olof Jarlbro, "Untitled"

© Olof Jarlbro, Untitled (cover image of "Nepal and Mao"), 2009

Editor's Note: This image appears on the cover of the book "Nepal and Mao" published by Rough Dog Press.

Olof Jarlbro: It was sometime in mid-May 2009. I had been in the capital Katmandu for a couple of weeks shooting the May Day demonstration and protests. I was waiting for a colleague to arrive as we planed to share a jeep for a road trip to the south of Nepal. The last few weeks I had been giving out my local telephone number to a bunch of Maoists and would receive daily calls about protests or Maoist rallies. Most times I would receive the call about 10-15 minutes before anything would start. So I always had to be on standby because the riots could start and be over in an hour and due to the heavy traffic in Katmandu it could take one hour to go from one part to another. So the best way was to have motorbike driver that could easy cut through the traffic jams in order to arrive on time. Sometimes changing taxis and walking fast or running would do the trick but it is always a struggle against the clock. The call I received that day was for a Maoist rally. Sometimes the people around the rally are interesting for portraits, other times nothing happens and half a day has gone to waste and I have not been able to take a single good picture. This time I noticed that the speaker had this fanatic look in his eyes. The young man was shouting out Maoist slogans, screaming insults at the King and the people in the crowds were cheering. I took a couple of frames of the speaker and did not think much more about the image until we were sitting and deciding the cover of the book. For me the cover is extremely important and should represent the title and the body of work. I think the image does that and it makes the mind wonder about some kind of revolution. Another important factor is that there is something timeless about the image, you can’t exactly put a time label on it, if you are not given the information. This is something I had been striving after in my work.