BACK TO KYRGYZSTAN #4: A Photographic Journey With Jean Gaumy

Jean Gaumy’s initial project sought to photograph a Kyrgyz community living in the very high mountains of Tajikistan. However when he arrived in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, he found the border was closed due to the recent assassination of a Tajik politician. After a waiting period at the border, it became clear that he had to find a replacement plan. Playing with chance and luck, our protagonist decided to travel to Kyrgyzstan, a place seemingly captured in time, trusting in the people he would meet. Following gut instincts is just part of the photographer’s job, as usual…

In this next part of BACK TO KYRGYZSTAN: A Photographic Journey With Jean Gaumy, we gleam insight into Gaumy’s thoughts through both his photos and his revealing journals on his trip.

Map of Kyrgyzstan

Tomorrow, visit to the cattle market in Bashy
Take the mountain road to the south-east, towards the Chinese frontier.
Be there in time for the opening, at 6 a.m. Drive by night to be there in time for the morning light. I dread (detest?) blue skies.
It’s the opening of the market that gives the best opportunities. The arrival of the animals.
Who knows what reality will turn up for us?

The town of Bokonbaeva fêtes its 100th anniversary. Bokonbaeva originated as a staging post established by the Russians, I believe.
The yurts will be pitched this afternoon. An unexpected opportunity to see a popular gathering. At this time of year, as the farm work is nearly over, the people stay at home, which makes it difficult to meet them.
Meanwhile it is getting colder. The sky is grey. So much the better. It’s a change from the unrelenting blue skies with their hard, unforgiving light.

Southern exit from the town (6 km). We were told to make a right turn onto a mountain road leading to a small valley where there would be an exhibition of falconry. It’s a bit vague, and we’re going to check it out.

– Leica Internet Team

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  • Amazing storytelling…I know Jean has had a difficult time in the Forum, but I am constantly floored by his work.

  • We are so inundated by digital photography that I truly believed that film photography was dead. It’s great to see these photos on film; and the fact that many are taken with
    older Leicas makes me want to find a good used Leica.

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