Getting Super High

China, India, Nepal, and Tibet all have obvious stakes in the world's tallest mountain. Adventurers from everywhere consider it their own. And who knows what sherpas say about it behind closed doors? Mount Everest, also known as Chomolungma or some other variant of "Earth Mother" in its local languages, is an indisputable and eternal source of fascination and, you know, death. In 1983, photographer William Thompson flew over Everest — think about the altitude on that — and made its portraits. At "Everest," go ahead and boggle at the pure beauty of these insane pictures. Just keep in mind that it took the National Geographic Society and the Boston Museum of Science years to work out the international airspace relations game with surrounding countries who don't like each other. Once that was done, all that remained was to decide that this art was worth dying for — flying over Everest isn't any safer than climbing it. Maintaining your aesthetic perspective while doing all that is, to understate, quite a feat.
June 25-July 25, 2009

 
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