Mongolia, with a total population of 2.9 million, is the least populated independent country in the world. The far eastern region, Bayan-Olgii, is 700 miles west of the capital Ulaanbaatar.
High, dry, rugged and raw, the isolated, oddly shaped province follows the arc of the Mongol Altai Nuruu Mountains as it rolls out of Central Asia towards the barren wastes of the Dzungarian Basin.
The people of this region are the Kazakh’s. A nomadic ethnic group who live exclusively in the Bayan-Olgii region. Unlike the rest of Mongolia, which is dominated by the Khalkah Mongols which are Buddhist, the Kazakh’s, are Sunni Muslim. There are perhaps 100,000 people in the region.
The Kazakh’s are nomadic herders of cattle, sheep, goats, yaks, horses or camels which roam the region two to three times a year, during the seasons, in search of grasses to survive.
Kazakhs trace their roots to the 15th century, when rebellious kinsmen of an Uzbek Kahn broke away, and settled in present day Kazakhstan. The last bastion of the eagle hunters and horsemanship sports of this culture.
There are an estimated 250 eagle hunters in the Western Mongolian province. Their practice is unique in that they only use trained Golden Eagles and are on horseback. Their hunting target is almost limited to Red Fox or Corsac Fox. In the last week of September, 70 eagle hunters gather for the annual Golden Eagle Festival in Sagsai.
For over forty years Michael has been involved in the world of photography. He started with a small darkroom in his garage and blossomed into a fine art photographer with impressionable skills and an accomplished eye for composition. Extensive world travels focus his photography on people, culture as well as historical architecture. From Europe to the Far East, his photo journalistic travels capture the spirit of the culture with creative imagery.There are very few spots on our planet that Michael, his camera, and his passion for creating compelling images have not traveled.
Having traveled the world for most of my life, I've come to appreciate the fact we are more alike than different. To capture and present the benevolent reflection of our humanity in photography is my quest. To quote the photographer Minor White, “At first glance a photograph can inform us. At second glance it can reach us.”
www.TheLifeImages.com, (619) 990-7112, Michael.LifeImages@gmail.com