Imagine driving along the beautiful #wakhan valley somewhere between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Beside Panj glacial river, historically known as Oxus - it is definitely an experience you won't forget.
While hiking through the Wakhan corridor, we would regularly encounter two things: snowfall and Marco Polo sheep horns, randomly scattered throughout local villages.
Marco Polo sheep are some of the largest sheep in the world, and definitely have the biggest horns of any sheep. A good few of those we saw were over a metre wide. While they are - technically - no longer hunted in the Wakhan, they remain elusive: we didn't spot any live ones.
Amusingly, I wasn't even trying to make this shot look good, as I was merely using it to try out the framing for my large format pinhole camera. Only back home did I discover it actually came out well.
#Repost from @bethjwald // A cold wind is howling across northern New Mexico, reminding me of frigid mid-winter journeys that I have photographed in the recent past...like the one I took into the icy mountain world of the Afghan Pamirs, at the end of the Wakhan corridor, northeastern Afghanistan. In this photo, young Kyrgyz girls brave the cold to watch a yak being butchered, while older women watch in the shelter of a mud hut, at the nomads’ winter camp in the Little Pamir region. The red headdresses are worn by unmarried females, white by those who are wed. The Kyrgyz, one of two ethnic groups in the Wakhan, live a nomadic life high in the Afghan Pamirs, moving seasonally with their herds of yaks, goats, sheep and camels; during the coldest winter months, they settle in winter camps where a few permanent buildings offer more shelter from the brutal cold than their summer yurts. It is a hard life, especially for women - no health care, few education options, hard work and harsh weather - but the Kyrgyz are proud of their independent lifestyle on the Bam-y Dunya or “Roof of the World”. This photo was taken during a winter journey on foot through the frozen Wakhan, part of a several year project to document the Wakhi and Kyrgyz, their ways of life, their relationship to each other, to their environment and to the wildlife of the Pamirs. #Afghanistan#wakhancorridor#Pamirs#Kyrgyz#mountainculture#Badakshan#roofoftheworld#centralasia#hindukush@ilcp_photographers@thephotosociety
0 36319 February, 2020
It's been a while, but it's once again timelapse time!
Short timelapse from the Kyrgyz village of Bozai Gumbaz, the first settlement you'll come across after three days walking along the Wakhan river. With about a dozen buildings, the village itself isn't much to look at but the surrounding scenery? Nothing short of amazing, with the added bonus of apparently being the end of a natural bottleneck for clouds drifting up high above along the Wakhan river. Good thing it's so remote, the place would be crawling with timelapse-shooting junkies otherwise.
For anyone into skiing, Afghan summers in the Wakhan corridor are excellent for winter sports, with regular fresh snow. During two weeks of walking, we had exactly three days without snowfall. Most of it was insignificant, some of it turned the landscape white such as in this picture, showing a small group of yaks returning home after a day of grazing near lake Chaqmaqtin.
Picture taken close to the village of Itchkili, where we were received by an off-duty soldier. While the guesthouse had the worst stove of the entire region - it bleched smoke into the room at a rate a steamboat would be jealous of - his wives served us katama (fried bread) and paneer (soft cheese) both made right before our eyes. After having lived on rice for almost a week, we ate until we very nearly exploded. Certainly a pleasant way to relax after walking in conditions that approached a white-out at times.
Due to a temporary shortage of goats, I will have to make do with these two donkeys today, and wish to apologize for the inconvenience.
That said, these two upstanding fellows - along with a third colleague of theirs - truly were the unsung heroes of our Afghanistan trip, carrying our food, clothes, camping gear and a combined total of roughly 20kg of photo gear - and all they wanted in return was a small ration of grain, a good few back scratches and some grass to graze on.
On this Valentine’s Day, I think it is important, especially during these times, to remember that love – for your child, your partner, parents, family, your friends – is the same the world over, and I hope that we can look at all people, no matter how different their lives or culture or place of origin, as the same as us and deserving of respect, dignity, human rights, and our compassion and love. In the remote Afghan Pamir, a Kyrgyz girl looks with love on her baby sister while two young Bactrian camels seem to share in the emotion of the intimate moment, at a nomads’ camp in a high mountain valley at the end of the Wakhan Corridor, northeast Afghanistan. In my travels I am always grateful to be able to be present for such moments. By sharing them with others, I try to honor and celebrate our collective humanity. I am thinking today also of those who might be separated from their loved ones – by war, by immigration policies, by financial need, by incarceration – and hope that they may be soon reunited, in spirit at least.
As winter seems to settle in for the long haul to spring here in the mountain west, I am continuing to share photos from a mid-winter journey I made on foot through the frozen world of the Wakhan and Afghan Pamir, part of a several year project to document the Wakhi and Kyrgyz, their ways of life, their relationship to each other, to their environment and to the wildlife of the Pamirs. #Afghanistan#wakhancorridor#Pamirs#Kyrgyz#mountainculture#Badakshan#roofoftheworld#centralasia#hindukush@ilcp_photographers@thephotosociety
I just realized I haven't posted any goats this week. I wish to apologize and hope to rectify my error with this picture.
As I was sitting inside one of the more fancy shelters of the Wakhan corridor, sipping tea with some equally snowed in local traders while hiking further into the Afghani Hindu Kush mountains, suddenly the sound of hundreds of goats and sheep sounded outside. Needless to say, I ran outside and started fraternizing with them.
I invite you all to guess during which season this picture was taken!
Hint: it was summer! In Afghanistan's Wakhan corridor - much of which lies above 3000-4000m - snow can fall any day of the year, and that's exactly what we got to experience ourselves. Woke up with sunshine, had to take shelter due to a small snowstorm in the afternoon, and emerged next morning to find out it was an excellent moment for chucking snowballs at Afghan traders, who were very happy to respond in kind - boys will be boys after all, and snowballs fly straight through any language barrier.
Second picture is the very same spot - named Mezomrad - roughly a week later, when summer was actually summer. Quite the difference eh?
To offer some perspective and without wanting to sound boastful, I have been to every continent except Antartica and have apparently visited 41 countries. In every single region of all the countries I've been to, people knew major leage football - no exceptions, period. Even in remote African regions where people had limited contact with the outside world and saw no tourists, people would know about Barcelona, Eden Hazard and - insane but true - STVV Sint-Truiden. The Wakhan Corridor must be the only place I've ever visited where nobody knew anything about football at all, other than that it involved kicking a ball, then running after it and repeat ad nauseam.
The man in the centre of this picture had no idea his headgear represented one of the most well-known sports brands of the planet. I knew this place was isolated, but it was in this moment that it really hit me how far away from everything we know these people live.
Sleeping and eating in the crude shelters of the Wakhan corridor together with the local traders truly is as immersive as it gets: no bond is stronger than developing acute lung cancer together with a group of Wakhi traders while sitting in these shelters, where the smoke gets so thick you can hardly see your own feet. I had to run outside to get some fresh air every 10 minutes.
Carnet de Nav'- Asie Centrale - Tadjikistan 🇹🇯 🚲 🇫🇷 Jour 1
Enfin nous sommes fiers avec mon compagnon de route M. @anthony.pela de vous présenter les images de notre expé' en Asie Centrale ! Accrochez-vous sur nos portes bagages, et n'oubliez pas d'ouvrir les mirettes ! 🇬🇧 Day 1
Finally we are proud with my traveling companion Mr. @ anthony.pela to present the images of our expedition in Central Asia! Hang on our bike luggage rack , and do not forget to open the eyes !