It's officially Fall, and my goodness is this year going fast. It's hard to believe that it's almost November already. I've made it back from all of my traveling this summer, and wanted to put an update out, as many have asked what I'm up to these days. I'll give you a quick overview of what I did: I left Hong Kong in late May (I think?), and headed for Qinghai province in China, where I went trekking for a few days around Amnye Machen, one of the four holy mountains of Tibet. While I was there, my camera broke, and I had no option but to head back to Hong Kong to get it fixed. I made a detour to Thailand, while my camera was getting repaired, and then back to Hong Kong to retrieve my equipment. I had planned to go back to Qinghai province, but looking at the calendar, I decided to head straight to Kyrgyzstan, where I bought a horse and trekked in the mountains for a month with the Kyrgyz shepherds. It was by far the most incredible thing I've ever done.
Why did I buy a horse in Kyrgyzstan? Quite frankly, I'm still not really sure what the inspiration for it was, other than just adventure. Those that know me, know that I'm not an equestrian by any means. Though after 200hrs+ in a saddle this summer, I think I could qualify as a newly converted one. Kyrgyzstan was a stunningly beautiful place, made so by the incredible scenery and friendly people. It only felt right to experience the country on the back of an animal that is so important to the lives of the people there.
After all of my traveling, I am very tired. I wandered Asia this year without a really clear purpose of where I was going or what I was after, other than a desire to see the world and photograph things along the way. I found out pretty quickly that wandering without purpose is a very exhausting thing for me, and that I'm someone that needs a project to work on, a trait that no doubt stems from my engineering background. I'm much more interested in documenting stories; creating a set of images that tell a narrative. And that to do that, it's better to work on projects in a more targeted way rather than wander continuously. So for the next year, I've got two or three major and one minor project that I want to devote myself to working on in. It's something that will allow me to focus my efforts a little more clearly and give me some direction. And who knows, maybe it's work that someone will be interested in publishing.
I'm hoping to continue my work in Kyrgyzstan with the shepherds next year, along with some time in Tajikistan photographing a central Asian sport called Buzkashi. And I'm hoping to slip in a trip along the Mediterranean coastline in Greece/Turkey, plus maybe a week or two in Venice, somewhere I've always wanted to photograph. For now, I'm looking for some temporary work in Shanghai. My gear is falling apart (camera gear, et al), I need a break, and a boost on my travel funds. I'm tired, and I need some time to get focused on the projects I want to work on for next year, so I can make the most of my opportunities. I've processed my film from the summer, and aside from some amateur mistakes on the choice of lab for processing, and finding out that one of my cameras had a light leak in the rear door, which ruined a few images, I'm pretty excited about them. Not bad for my first real attempt at photographing on film. There are a lot of new challenges that I was not prepared for, but I'm still pretty happy with the results. I've got some thoughts on film shooting that I want to write about and I'll post about that later.
Starting in November, I'm going to post a series of my images on Instagram (one photo a day for 30 days) as a way to show you my month long journey through Kyrgyzstan, through the moments that my camera captured. Why Instagram? Simply because I feel like it's the best outlet for sharing my favorite moments of the trip. So add me @stturn if you are interested to see my experiences! As I get time to scan more images in, I will probably share via Instagram or here on the blog.