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Chinese Turkestan: A Photographic Journey Through an Ancient Civilization Hardcover – September 5, 2014
Collectible Photography Books
The 10 Most Collectible Photography Books of All Time. Learn more on AbeBooks.com.
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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! ***
Pole is a Canadian freelance photojournalist, working for the New York Times and other North American and British papers and magazines, based and living with his wife and family in Shanghai. As if that life isn't adventurous enough, when he 'works for himself', he does things like climb onto his motorcycle to ride the circumference of China (don't try that with a US passport!), spend weeks photographing Muslim Xinjiang after being warned that it wasn't safe for Westerners, and later motorcycling around India! [The motorcycle trips resulted in not only books but DVDs, as well.]
The photos of Chinese Turkestan are primarily of people at their daily lives-- wrinkled elders and round-cheeked babies, hard-working men and women in the fields and in tiny storefronts and factories, dancing at the end of Ramadan and praying at a shrine almost lost amidst the sand dunes. Pyle focuses, rightly, on the peoples' faces, and his pictures give us a powerful, often painful, look into the lives of a poverty-ridden Chinese ethnic and religious minority living far from the glitz of Shanghai.
As a number of reviewers have commented, the book's layout isn't for everyone-- rather than the photographer using the layout purely to showcase his photos, he sometimes chooses to break up photos into grids, which can be distracting at best. The printing of the book of black and white photos on red-bordered pages was a curious choice as well, but one that works both visually and thematically-- despite Turkestan's sharing borders with Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia (not a -stan!) as well as with China, it is truly 'surrounded' by China, by China's governmental policies and its encroaching culture, in ways that control and will control its future for the foreseeable future. This book provides a look back at the Chinese Turkestan that was, that sat, ageless, on the Silk Road, with scenes that Marco Polo would have no trouble recognizing, while also looking ahead to the modernized Turkestan of cell phones and indoor plumbing-- a reminder that no gains come without loss.
Published by Ryan Pyle Productions, Huller Hopkins LLP, Watford , Hertfordshire, UK. ©2014. Printed in Singapore
[Note: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.]
This is a simply gorgeous photography book....an art book unlike many others. I have plenty of art photography books, but often they are marred by narration that is either oversimplified, politically biased, or unrelated to the images. This has admittedly, very little text. And I like it all the more so for that. There's no sense of having to follow someone's opinions: the images are there for you to create your own.
It shows a variety of people and places and interactions unlike most American's can even imagine. Best of all, due to the black and white photos, the true images of the people is revealed. Wrinkles, emotions, even hesitation is visible in faces by way of the non-color photography. Why it reveals so much more, I don't know. Perhaps color is a distraction. In any case, this feels completely right.
Also, it doesn't torture you with just images of horror and grief, as many books do. This is not for shock value. It's for human value. I highly recommend it as a way to look and see without feeling you have to say something aloud, just interpret in your head.
For teachers, this could be away to start a writing prompt, an unusual way to see how various people can see the same photo differently.
I enjoyed this and it's classy presentation. It reminds me a bit of On the Way Home by Anne Fishbein, that deals with Russian people and faces and history etched therein.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is truly a very unusual part of the world from the Western...Read more