Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chinese Turkestan: A Photographic Journey Through an Ancient Civilization by Ryan Pyle

Genre: Photographic Journal
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Ryan Pyle is well known around the world through his writing for newspapers and magazines and his wonderful photographs. In his book Chinese Turkestan he is able to capture the everyday life of the Chinese people, and give us a look at what few would ever be able to see.

There is a raw beauty as you look at the old buildings in contrast to the new construction.  There is a lot of construction as old buildings are torn down to make better, earthquake resistant buildings.  When looking at these photographs you often feel as if you have traveled back in time.  There are horse drawn carts alongside old cars. There are large markets everywhere.  Many in the markets sell items they have learned to make from previous generations, such as knives and other metalwork pieces.  The people are predominantly Muslim.  There are mosques everywhere.  A lot of their customs are things we no longer allow in the United States, such as cock fights.  This look at old and new gives us the impression that time runs slower there.  As busy and bustling as things are, looking at the pictures creates the illusion that everything these people have not made a lot of forward progress.  It is as if they are stuck in a simpler time, however it still seems as hectic as today.

This is a wonderful book.  As I looked at the photographs I kept wondering what the people in them were thinking.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely read more by this author.

Links to his work:
Book Title: Chinese Turkestan (on Amazon)
Link : Click Here
YouTube Video of Images
Annenberg Centre for Photography Lecture (Los Angeles)
BBC World Interview - Ryan Pyle on Chinese Turkestan
HiFi HD Television Interview - Ryan Pyle on Chinese Turkestan

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