Tashi Kuergan Tajik autonomous county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has a long history as a stop on the ancient Silk Road. But not any more. Award-winning Chinese photographer Li Xinzhao captures the beauty of the forgotten ancient town and its people.
Tashi Kuergan means stone fortress or stone tower. Some scholars believe that a stone tower mentioned in early accounts of travel on the Silk Road refers to this spot. Pricked by curiosity, photographer Li Xinzhao traveled to the country's most westerly county, stayed there for several months photographing the local nomads using a Hasselbald large-format digital camera and Profoto lighting. She presents this group of portraits titled Through The Unknown Tashi Kuergan. "My creative urge was to capture the untainted simplicity of the tribe's life and culture. The culture, along with the eco-environment, is now endangered. Unfortunately, there are times that we have to lose things before we can truly appreciate their existence," she says. The series is among those that won top ranking in the 24th National Photographic Art Exhibition, one of the biggest photography events in China.
Return To Farming, October 2009. [Photo provided to China Daily]