29 October, London-
Bijen Gurung, a former British Gurkha soldier, has become the first Nepali to receive the distinguished Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society (LRPS). The RPS distinctions are held with high regard worldwide and is awarded based on practical photographic ability in either still or motion picture work.
‘I feel really blessed, honoured and may this be an example to all Nepalis to have a dream and the energy to follow it with great passion,’ said Gurung, after receiving the award from Nepali Ambassador to UK, Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi, amid a function at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, on Saturday. Gurung still holds Nepali citizenship.
‘Passion and dedication always lead to success,’ added Gurung, who was with the Brigade of Gurkhas of the British Army for 22 years. He is the fifth generation from his family to serve with the British Gurkha Army since 1847. However, his photography journey was almost cut short in 2004 as he had retinal detachment in both his eyes and was almost permanently visually impaired. Luckily, the Southampton General Eye Hospital’s speedy response managed him to retain his vision. Because of his eye condition, he had to stop taking photographs for almost seven years. Nonetheless, he did not refrain from bouncing back to photography and has been taking more beautiful pictures and winning more trophies, commend certificates and recognitions at Winchester Photography Society since 2013.
His citation reads: ‘Bijen has a passion for photography and loves to travel around the world. He is primarily interested in people, portrait and travel photography. He loves and feels very comfortable taking photographs in his hometown, Nepal – where he spent most of his childhood years. He has been in love with the camera since his early age. He has travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India and Bhutan. During his service in the British Army, he got more opportunities to explore his photography skills in places such as Hong Kong, China, Europe and the United States. He took up short photography courses in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom and acquired some City and Guild certificates.’
Addressing the ceremony, Nepalese envoy to the UK, Dr Subedi congratulated Mr Gurung for his achievement and said it was a matter of pride for all Nepalese and all the Gurkhas. He said the pictures Mr Gurung had shot showcased Nepal’s immense natural and cultural beauty. He said Nepalese are known worldwide for their hard-work, humbleness, hospitality and honesty. Lauding the role Gurkhas have played in cementing the relations between Nepal and UK, Dr Subedi expressed hope that people-to-people relations will further blossom between the two countries in the days and years to come. He also invited Mr Bijen Gurung to organise his photo exhibition at the Nepali embassy in London.
Mr Gurung has dedicated his distinction award to his late son Nirvan who passed away in September 2015.