I am from Xinjiang

Updated: 2014-04-28 17:14

By Guo Yali (chinadaily.com.cn)

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I am from Xinjiang

"My name is Eli Abdurehim. I am from Xinjiang, I am Uygur, and I am 61 years old. I first opened a canteen at Urumqi's Nanmen Market in 1982. An inspection team from Beijing thought the bazaar was good and then invited a dozen people like me to run some Xinjiang business in the farmers’ market in Madian. I sold fruits and then roast mutton and kebabs. I made some money and then brought my wife and children here. But my third child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and we spent all our money for his treatment. I've been here for more than 30 years. My only dream is that my son can recover." Photo by Kurbanjan Samat / For China Daily

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Kurbanjan came to Beijing in 2006 to study auditing at the Communication University of China after he participated in the making of the documentary Song of Forest with his mentor, Meng Xiaocheng.

Meng and his wife Li Xiaodong, who both graduated from the university, hired Kurbanjan as their assistant in 2004, when they met the then 22-year-old at a market in Hotan selling jade and discovered he was passionate about photography.

"At first we took two young men with us to the desert to document the life of diversifolious poplars. One left by himself three months later because the life was too hard and the progress was slow. But Kurbanjan stayed," Meng says.

The couple later took Kurbanjan to Beijing when the filming was completed and recommended he study at the school.

Kurbanjan became a cameraman with CCTV after winning a diploma from the school in 2008. His recent works includes filming the food of Hotan for the documentary series A Bite of China, season 2.

"He is hard working and persistent, and has made much progress in his photographic career through the years," Meng says. "And although he is still a quick-tempered man, he is already much milder than he used to be."

Now Kurbanjan is on a tight schedule, traveling around the country photographing his subjects. He has interviews lined up in Shaanxi, Fujian, Shanghai,J iangsu, Guangdong, Chongqing, Tianjin, Hebei and Gansu.

"I don't want them to pose for me. I take their pictures in their homes or while they work. I want their true stories, in a natural way," he says.

"My friends say that I'm a high-profile person and do things in a high-profile way," he adds, "It's true. I want the world to know more about Xinjiang and Xinjiang people. I'm doing this for my hometown and my people, and me."

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