- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Ryan Pyle Productions (September 5, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0992864402
- ISBN-13: 978-0992864408
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,070,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chinese Turkestan: A Photographic Journey Through an Ancient Civilization Hardcover – September 5, 2014
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From the Inside Flap
Sparsely populated and spanning more than 1.6 million square kilometers of desert, river basins, mountains, and grasslands, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has had a turbulent history. Many of the events that have occurred there during the last 2500 years have been inextricably associated with its geographical position in northwest China, at a crossroads linking Europe and Asia. Traversed by branches of the series of trade routes that formed the ancient Silk Road, the region has been fought over and controlled by a succession of warlords and empires. Join Ryan as he spends nearly a decade exploring ancient footsteps in shifting sands in China's remote northwest.
From the Back Cover
I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who helped me transform a concept into a reality in the making of this book.
Most of all, I would like to thank the people of Xinjiang, of all ethnicities and religions, for making every one of my visits to the region a joyous journey and a photographic pleasure. The hospitality for which they have been renowned since the early days of the Silk Road era remains the same to this day.
I would also like to say a special thank you to Abdul, Jasmine Bian, Giorgio Baravalle, Jane Smith, Chad Ingraham, Jesper Sorensen, Bob Carnie, and Kevin Viner.
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Top customer reviews
I just can not understand why nobody thought this was an issue during the publishing process. As a photographer I would not let my work we displayed in such a haphazard manner.
The book cover turning into a frame-able print is a nice bonus.
Check out the video to see the full review.
Disclosure - I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
*** If you found this review at all helpful, please take a moment to let me know. You can also leave a comment or ask questions in the comments section below. I try to provide you with simple reviews that get straight to the point without a lot of jargon or repeating the product description. I hope this look at the products has helped you make the decision to buy or not to buy. Thanks for taking the time to read my review! ***
My first impression was that this is a region of contrasts. The very first image speaks of modernity -- a large, open plaza, with billboards and a high rise building, with a child on a bicycle. But other images are different. We visit farms still using some very traditional (and ancient) methods to plant and harvest crops. We see a bazaar and a sheep market that wouldn't have been out of place hundreds of years ago. We see blacksmiths and bricklayers. It never would have occurred to me that people were still making their livings as traditional blacksmiths in this day and age. Now I know they do. And everywhere, older buildings are being torn down to make way for massive apartment buildings. There's a sense of loss, here. An entire way of life is threatening to disappear. The photographer has explicitly stated he doesn't want to make value judgments; rather, he just wants to chronicle the lives of the people. I respect that. I think there is still a theme to the work, but the collection just lacks an agenda. And the impartiality works.
Many different areas of the lives of the people of this region are documented. We see their homes, their farms, their places of business. We see the market where they shop and the mosque where they worship. We see various forms of traditional dress, including traditional mixed with modern (for example, women in full niqab but wearing high-heeled boots). We see the changes that are wrought with each new generation. (And the text backs up my first impression, for what it's worth.)
At any rate, the photography is generally excellent. The composition of nearly every photograph in the book seems well-thought out. The photos (especially the larger ones) seem carefully chosen. The portraits, especially, capture the essences of the people of this region. I definitely feel that I know more about Chinese Turkestan now than I ever did before.
Some neutral considerations: Much (if not all) of the text is red with a white background. I did not have a problem with this, but some people might. Also, opinions may vary on the use of black and white photography. In one sense, this might have been for financial reasons -- this book is self-published and full-color printing is expensive. I happen to think the black and white photography adds a timeless quality to the photos. But there are those who might feel that the black and white unnecessarily dates the images, when they are actually fairly recent.
There were some problems with this book, many of which have already been mentioned by the other reviewers. Layout was the biggest of these. There were quite a few pictures, including numerous portraits, where the images spanned two pages. And there'd be a crease in the middle of some important feature of the image (for example, the crease would split someone's face in two). I have no doubt the originals of these images were superb, judging from the rest of the book, but the layout ruined the effect.
Also, it was somewhat confusing to have captions on pages somewhat far away from the images, themselves, especially since the pages weren't numbered. Additionally, I found the cover design to be an odd choice. So many wonderful images graced this book and nearly any one of them would've made a fine cover. Instead, there was a mostly blank rectangle.
Finally, the map in the beginning of the book was strange. While it did a wonderful job of situating the area in terms of countries whose locations I know (e.g., Pakistan), cities and locations were labeled in the right margin with long lines pointing to their locations on the map. The map was not crowded with text or features, and it would've been easier to interpret if the city labels had appeared on the map instead of in the margin.
I spend some time on the problems in the hope that future books of Mr. Pyle's photography will avoid these layout woes -- because the photographs are fascinating and I feel that I learned a lot from this book. I would definitely be interested in looking at more of Mr. Pyle's work in the future.
Review copy provided by the author.
It's an interesting look at the modern and the old all mixed together. And you kind of wonder how is it that most of the world has very little awareness of this part of China and the unique people that live there.
The pictures take a look at every day life. It's a huge contrast with the modern and very technologically savvy parts of China which are not only heavily industrialized but also wealthy parts of China where in factories make a huge proportion of the items that are being sold today on Amazon, ironically enough. No this book is about entirely different, almost strange part of China.
Having been involved in book publishing myself I'll make a comment about the layout. The way it was done is far from ideal. Ideally for a book with this many photos, you'll have a lot of white space in order to avoid splitting photos between two pages or putting them too far into the spine. Of course that would greatly increase the number of pages and thus the cost of publishing. But there is a trade-off and perhaps there was a better middle ground that could have been chosen between economy and giving the reader the best possible experience.
This item was provided in exchange for a unbiased review.
Most recent customer reviews
This is truly a very unusual part of the world from the Western...Read more