Jake has also pioneered a project he calls The Lokta Project, where his select images from the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Tibet, and India are printed with archival inks on lokta paper. Lokta is an ancient paper technique from the Himalaya, and comes from the bark of the Daphne bholua and Daphne papyracea plants, which grow between 1,600 and 4,000 m (c.5,250ñ13,000 ft) in the Nepal Himalaya. The paper is naturally insect, moisture, and tear resistant, and has been used to record scriptures and official documents for nearly 2,000 years. Prints from The Lokta Project are all done by hand by Jake to ensure quality, and his printing technique adds true Himalayan flavor to his already powerful images.
Jake Norton has spent over 25 years photographing, filming, and exploring the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Tibet, and India. In that time, he continually sought out a unique means of reproducing images from the Himalayan region that captured the true essence of the physical and cultural landscape. The Lokta Project is an attempt to realize that vision in custom-crafted, archival prints.
Each image in this collection is an original photograph of Jake’s, taken either on native digital or scanned from 35mm slide or print film. The image files are then hand-retouched to accurately represent the original scene as photographed, and output digitally via a professional Epson printer using archival inks.
The resulting images are far from perfect, with the Lokta paper adding a warm, yellow cast to the images, and its natural bark fibers showing through. But, Jake hopes the imperfect result is at the same time perfectly Himalayan.
Paper made from the bark of the Lokta (Daphne cannabinaor Daphne papyracca) is a traditional craft in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. This paper served as the principal writing material for recording Buddhist and Hindu scriptures. Lokta is naturally acid-free, bug and mold resistant, and renowned for its longevity: the sacred Karanya Buha Sutra in Nepal’s National Archives was block printed on Lokta between 1,000 – 1,900 years ago.
Almost lost over the years, the tradition of Lokta paper making in the Himalaya has been revitalized recently by tourist and export demand. A subspecies of laurel, Daphne grows wildly on some 1 million hectares of forest land in Nepal and, when harvested responsibly, the bush regenerates rapidly with new growth of 4-5 meters within 5-7 years. According to the Cottage Industry Department of Nepal, the 377 registered handmade paper entities in the country produce 30,000 metric tons of Lokta annually, offering essential work and income to many in the rural countryside.
Contact Jake to inquire about lokta prints