Here is one of my best friend Dimitri Staszewski's pictures and thoughts. He is the one of my favourite photographer. (Click the picture )
Going through a bunch of pictures, video, and audio from a recent trip to Galuut soum in Bayankhongor province. This is one of my favorites.
I came back to the GER (yurt ) where I was staying and my host-mother says through Mongolian and hand motions "They're cutting the horses' hair outside." I rushed outside and didn't stop taking pictures for two hours. There are five main types of livestock in Mongolia. There is Bog mal–small animals: sheep and goat. And bod mal–large animals: horses, yak, and camel. Horses have their hair cut once a year during the spring. The herders I was with cut the hair of two small herds of horses amounting to around 50 horses total. They collected around 10 kg of hair, which sells for 5,000 tugrik (a few dollars) per kilo.
It's a tradition to watch the first sunrise of the year. My friend Danzka invited me to come along with some of his childhood friends on a 5 am hike to watch the sunrise. Here they are looking over Ulaanbaatar which is capital city of Mongolia.
I took this picture last week in Terelj National Park. After meeting up with a small herd of yak, we continued to the top of the mountain where we saw two brown eagles take flight and circle us several times before flying off.
A Mongolian wrestling competition to celebrate the New Year. Recording music in the Mongolian countryside, I really never know what I'm getting into. Walking into Delgerkhaan's cultural center in Khentii aimag, I had no idea this competition would be going on. Mongolian wrestling has no weight classes and the rules are simple: whoever touches the ground first with anything besides their hands or feet loses.
Baigazym, a 75 year old Kazakh herder. He had stacks of notebooks full with his original folk songs. Recording him was one of my favorite recording sessions.
After we finished recording he wanted to put on some traditional Kazakh clothing and pose for a picture that he could have. I'm really happy with how it came out.
Going through my photos and videos from my recent trip to the northern Mongolian tundra. The 12 day trip included 4 full days of horseback riding, a shamanic ritual, temperatures that dropped to negative 25 degrees Celsius, and 3 days living with reindeer herders. The stoke is very real right now.
The northern Mongolian tundra will give you a new understanding of the cold. It became part of the overall beauty I was experiencing. Being forced to embrace it becasue it's all that exists up there. That and knowing that as I now sit back in a warm cafe in ulaanbaatar the herders I met are still out there working to keep their animals fat through the winter.
As our feast of boiled mutton came to an end, the monk who had been with us all day finally took center stage. Dense smoke and deep chanting filled my ears and nostrils. My stomach was full of mutton, potatoes, vodka, and fermented mare’s milk. I was consumed by a feeling of overwhelming fullness with all my senses accounted for. With each crevice accounted, it felt as if maybe, for a moment, this one small GER( Yurt ) had become a world of its own. There wasn’t room for anything else."
If you want to take majestic horse pictures, Mongolia is the place to go. 4 days of riding with views like this was unbeatable.
Tried out a little night photography in the countryside. I had never done that before but I want to do more now. This is a picture of the teepee I stayed in for a night. The long exposure made the sparks coming from our stove really stand out.
One of my favorite pictures from this past trip. This reindeer was taken care of by a shaman I met and later watched perform a ritual where he became possessed by one of his ancestors' ghosts. He explained that various spirits lord over the areas he and the Tsatan reindeer herders live. Some spirits will speak to him and tell him they own certain reindeer which will never be ridden. That's what the flags around this one's neck indicate. It all reminded me of something out of a.#miyazaki film.
Just got back from a trip to Bayan Ulgii in western Mongolia. I spent 10 days recording examples of Khazak herders performing traditional music. I recorded over 50 videos, went hunting using an eagle, and ate pretty much exclusively horse meat for the entire trip. A stunning and inspiring adventure.
In the process of uploading a bunch of subtitled videos of Kazakh herders singing in Bayan-Ulgii.
This is a picture taken during an eagle hunt on the same trip.
My home base for five days in Delgerkhaan soum, Khentii aimag. This region was the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan. Seeing open steppe like this for the first time was an incredible experience. By far the deepest quiet I've ever heard.
New Years Eve here in Mongolia. Such a great year to look back on and so much to be excited about. I'm sticking to the two New Years resolutions I've had the past few years. They've worked out pretty well for me. 1) Have "the best day ever" as many times as possible in the coming year and 2) drink more water. Happy New Years from Mongolia.
A behind-the-scenes look at what a recording session in a Mongolian GER looks like. This was from one of my favorite recording sessions I've had. In addition to capturing Tsenduren's soft, but powerful voice, she shared some wonderful stories from her childhood. She has seen so much in 79 years. After recording one song, her daughter convinced/forced her husband to sing a song all together. Everyone involved seemed to know, in the back of our minds, that Tsendsuren will not be around for much longer. It was an honor to capture some of her performances for her family. I will be sending them a DVD so they will be able to have those performances forever.
Facebook ( Dimitri Staszewski )