My assistants

- Ang Norbu Sherpa
- Ang Phurba Sherpa
- Anna Shirsath
- Nawang Tashi
- Nora Delgado Vega
- Tenzin Motup Föllmi
- Tenzin Diskit Föllmi
- Varunee Skaosang (Noonie)
- Wen Yutao (Jacky)
- Aok Tar

My assistants work in the background, providing me with the best possible working conditions. My gratitude to them knows no bounds. Although the awards come to me, much of the praise should go to them. Their work is difficult, often thankless: we are always on the move, my schedule changes constantly according to weather conditions, events, and my inspiration at the time. Their flexibility knows no limits. I ask a great deal of them: carrying and passing my equipment, holding reflectors, cleaning cameras, improvising solutions, helping me plan the next day, the day after and the following month, sorting and captioning photos, organising the logistics of each trip, doing the accounts, finding places to stay, and sometimes even cooking.

During my thirty five years spent roaming the world, I have been helped by a number of assistants: Ang Norbu Sherpa (Himalayas), Ang Phurba Sherpa (Himalayas, Chile), Tenzin Motup Föllmi (France), Amandine Roche (Ladakh), Nawang Tashi (North and South India, Mali, Chad, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia), Anna Sirsath (North and South India), Olivier Tanner (Namibia, Senegal), Clara Guiomar (Peru), Gaëlle Jacques (Bolivia- Ecuador), Nora Delgado Vega (Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia), Tenzin Diskit Föllmi (Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand), Liao Yi Lin (China),Virada Sitthisak (Laos), Swe Zin Oo (Myanmar), Varunee Skaosang (Asia, North Africa, Europe), Jacky Wen Yutao (Asia, North Africa, Europe), Aok Tar (Myanmar) and Danielle Pons-Föllmi who frequently joined and assisted me throughout the world by posing as a model.

My assistants most committed to my work :

Ang Norbu Sherpa

Ang Norbu was my assistant for twenty years, introducing me to the Himalayan world from Zanskar to Bhoutan. His charm was loved by all the Himalayan villagers. Together, we climbed the ridges of several summits, reaching altitudes of 6,000 to 7,500m including the Mustagh Ata in Central Asia, the Kangla Gachu in Bhoutan, the Mynia Konka in Tibet, the Putha Hiunchuli in Nepal. The success of our Himalayan work is due in no small part to his skills and devotion. Ang Norbu speaks seven languages and dialects, including English, Nepali, Tibetan, Hindi and Zanskari. He now lives in America

Ang Phurba Sherpa
Ang Phurba assisted me for fifteen years in the Himalayas with Ang Norbu, his brother-in-law. We often worked together in the most difficult conditions, in particular along the Frozen River trip. He was the first Sherpa Sherpa to travel to South America, helping me on my ascent of Mount Saint Valentine and the crossing of the Hielo Continental in Chile. Ang Phurba speaks five languages and dialects, including English, Nepali, Tibetan and Hindi. He lives with his family in Nepal .
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Anna Shirsath
An Indian from the Maharashtra state, with boundless energy and always willing, Anna accompanied me as assistant throughout India for one year, together with Nawang Tashi. Anna speaks Marathi, Hindi and, at present, English also.

Nawang Tashi
Tashi was born in an isolated area of the Himalayas at an altitude of 4,000m on the Ladakh border in India. He is a tireless mountaineer whose charisma and vitality opened many doors, particularly in Africa. Tashi was my assistant for one year in India and one year in Africa, in Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and Ethiopia. His commitment was complete. He was the first Ladakhi to visit Africa, where his happiness and willingness made an impression on many villagers. Tashi speaks Ladakhi, Hindi and Tibetan. He lives in Ladakh
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Nora Delgado Vega
Nora comes from a little village in the La Colca valley in the Peruvian Andes. Her dual culture, a combination of traditional and modern, provided inestimable support in getting to know the Indian world of the Andes and the Amazonian rain forest, as well as during our six-month trip around Peru, Equator, Bolivia, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and Cuba. The quality of her work, her commitment, open-mindedness, charisma and desire to learn make Nora an extraordinary assistant. When we first started travelling, she spoke Quechua and Spanish, but now speaks English, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese. She lives in Arequipa, Peru, where she has opened a travel agency
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Tenzin Motup Föllmi
Born in Zanskar, Motup joined our family at the age of eight. He studied in Tibetan schools and at the renowned school of Welham in Dehradun. Motup was my assistant in France during an order placed by National Geographic for a book on the Rhône-Alpes region. Married and father of two, he now lives in Ladakh where he has set up a travel agency specialising in Himalayan treks. Motup speaks English, French, Hindi, Zanskari, Ladakhi and Tibetan.
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Tenzin Diskit Föllmi
Diskit joined our family when we accompanied her across the ice of the Frozen River at the age of eight. She has studied in the best Tibetan and Indian schools as well as in France. A passionate photographer, she worked as my assistant for more than two months in Thailand, Burma and Vietnam. Her mixed culture means that Diskit knows how to adapt to any environment and all situations. Her Buddhist culture, natural charm and respectful approach have opened many a door throughout Asia. Diskit is highly versatile, helping me as much in setting up my equipment as in making contact with villagers, sorting photos and writing captions, keeping the accounts and organising the next stage of the trip in the evenings! She was an extraordinary assistant. Diskit speaks English, French, Hindi, Zanskari, Ladakhi and Tibetan. She lives in Ladakh, in India, where she has developed a travel agency.
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Varunee Skaosang (Noonie)
  Noonie is a passionate Thai photographer and my current assistant. Together, we have already worked in Thailand, China, Vietnam and Burma. Her very lively personality, adaptability and phenomenal willpower mean that I can ask her to do anything, even the impossible! Noonie provides photographic assistance in the field, deals with the organisation and logistics of our trips and shoots, does the accounts, sorts photos and writes captions. She is both respectful of traditional and, having lived in the USA, incredibly at ease with modernity. Noonie has become indispensable to me. She speaks Thai, English, French, Arabic and lives in Bangkok.

Wen Yutao (Jacky)
All the leg work became too much for one assistant, so Jacky now helps Noonie. He is Chinese, born in Yunnan: a precious man with immense human qualities and open-mindedness combined with a determined, rigorous mind. In the field, he is a perfect partner for Noonie. Together, they form an excellent team, always happy and smiling. Jacky has already helped us out in China, Thailand and Burma. In his free time, he guides photographers around the terraced paddy fields and villages of the Yuanyang region. Jacky speaks English and three other languages and Chinese dialects. He lives in Yuanyang, Yunnan
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Aok Tar
Working for the travel agency Kinnari in Yangon, Aok Tar, from Myanmar, with whom I have travelled numerous times in that country, proved to be far more than just a guide and interpreter, providing me with invaluable help in my work. His enthusiasm, maturity and extraordinary contact with others enabled me to surpass myself. Aok Tar speaks Burmese, French and English fluently.
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© © Olivier Föllmi