The captivating beauty of Mongolia transcends its vast landscapes; it resides in the people who carry forth age-old traditions, proudly preserving their heritage. Through the lens of black and white portraiture, the essence of Western and Southern Mongolia’s inhabitants comes to life, showcasing the diversity and cultural richness of this mesmerizing land.
In Western Mongolia, the Kazakh eagle hunters stand as proud custodians of a centuries-old tradition, steeped in bravery and kinship with nature. Each portrait captures the weathered faces of these skilled hunters, etched with lines that narrate stories of resilience and courage. With eyes that mirror the wisdom of generations, they evoke a sense of reverence for the bond they share with their majestic golden eagles.
The portraits of the Kazakh children of Western Mongolia reveal an innocence that harmonizes with the rugged beauty of their surroundings. Their faces bear the traces of laughter and play, embodying the hope and promise of a future deeply rooted in tradition. Despite the tough terrain they call home, their spirits remain vibrant, and their eyes sparkle with curiosity and wonder.
Venturing into Southern Mongolia, the group portraits adorned in traditional garments paint a tapestry of heritage and unity. Families and communities gather, draped in vibrant robes embellished with symbols that speak of their lineage and cultural legacy. The elderly sit with quiet dignity, their faces etched with a lifetime of stories passed down through generations. Meanwhile, the younger members stand tall, embodying the continuation of age-old customs with a sense of pride and honor.
The contrast between the Western and Southern regions of Mongolia is striking yet harmonious, each portrait telling a unique tale while collectively weaving the intricate fabric of Mongolian culture. The rugged determination of the eagle hunters juxtaposed with the communal celebration captured in group portraits portrays the multi-faceted essence of this remarkable nation.
The black and white palette chosen for these portraits lends an aura of timelessness, amplifying the raw emotions and cultural depth embedded in every expression. Stripped of color, the focus shifts to the intricate details of weathered skin, soulful gazes, and intricately woven textiles, allowing the viewer to delve deeper into the essence of the subjects and their surroundings.
Moreover, these portraits serve as a testament to the resilience of the Mongolian people, who continue to uphold their traditions despite the evolving world around them. They stand as guardians of a heritage that bridges the past with the present, preserving customs that echo through the ages.
In essence, these black and white portraits encapsulate the heart and soul of Mongolia— a land where time-honored traditions coexist with the ever-changing modern world. They invite viewers to witness the cultural richness, resilience, and unwavering spirit of a people deeply connected to their roots, painting a poignant picture of diversity and unity within this enchanting country.
About Benjamin Angel
Benjamin Angel is a French photographer living in Brussels. His work is primarily in black and white, though he has already published some colour series in the online edition of Dodho Magazine (‘in the heart of the Omo valley’ and ‘Priests of Ethiopia’). His photos on the inhabitants of Jerusalem have been gathered in a dedicated book in 2019 (People of Jerusalem. Husson editions. Belgium ). Part of his work on Ethiopian tribes has been published in a collective book (‘Tranches de vie #2’. Husson editions. Belgium). Photos from jazz clubs of the deep south of the US were published in another collective book ‘’Tranches de vie #3”. Husson editions. Belgium). His photos have been shown in several exhibitions in Belgium. One of his photos has been published by Dodho Magazine in the book ‘Portrait, best photographers of the year 2023’. [Official Website]