The Dukha reindeer nomads live under extreme circumstances in the wooded taiga of Northern Mongolia. During the winter months, the temperatures can fall to 50 degrees below zero. On Baruun (Western) and Zuun (Eastern) Taiga, there still live a total of forty-one families. The families travel along with the reindeer that go in search of food and move ever further into the taiga. Their main source of income is the sale of antlers and penises of wild reindeer, which can fetch high prices in China when sold as aphrodisiacs.
Copyright by Jeroen Toirkens, NomadsLife - Courtesy Lux Photogallery.
This photo is part of the book Nomad, The last nomadic life on the Northern Hemisphere - J. Toirkens, J. Brand Corstius (2011, Lannoo).
The first edition is sold out, the second edition of the book will be available in March 2013.
More info: www.nomadslife.com
Jeroen Toirkens (Netherlands, b. 1971) studied Photographic Design at the Royal Academy for the Visual Arts in The Hague, and since 1995 has been working as a freelance photographer. He focuses particularly on social documentary photography and has published photo essays in Air France Magazine, Monocle, Le Monde Magazine, LensCulture, Trouw, De Morgen and several other Dutch and International newspapers and magazines.
In 1999 Toirkens initiated a project called Nomadslife, in which he plans to document the life of the last nomadic peoples on the Northern Hemisphere.
Toirkens became fascinated by the nomad families high in Turkey's Bolkar Mountains. He encountered the way of life of the Yoruk, who were struggling with the pressures of a modernising Turkey. What were originally their nomadic pastures were being bought up by real estate developers, and many of the young people were departing for life in the cities. After that he visited other originally nomadic peoples who were encountering comparable problems. For instance, in 2005 and 2006 he and the journalist Jelle Brandt Corstius spent time with the Sami and the Nenets in Russia. Before the Soviet era family units from these tribes were constantly on the move with their herds. Under the Soviet regime they were forced to become workers on collective farms, the kolchoses, a policy from which they are still suffering the consequences. Most recently Toirkens visited Barrow in Alaska, the centre for traditional whaling. There the nomadic life has already made way for a settled lifestyle.
In 2011 his book Nomad was published by Belgian publisher Lannoo. The book shows the pervasive photos Toirkens took during his eleven trips to nomadic peoples. With this book Toirkens creates a diverse and often poignant picture of nomadism in the 21st century. Jelle Brandt Corstius journalist and presenter, who accompanied Toirkens on a number of trips, wrote an extended essay for the book. Working closely with photo editor Marc Prust, Toirkens selected the images that told his story of contemporary nomads.
In 2011 he was awarded with the prestigious Canon prize for the best innovative photostory for his project NomadsLife. According to the jury: 'A project that, in these hectic times, stresses that a long focus on one issue leads to new insights, knowledge and images that transcend cliches in a superior way.'
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... as long as there's an advanced Maths course in a (not necessarily) nearby country. He's known for pushing friends into the most expensive photographic equipment... several family inheritances have been wasted, but they often acknowledge his smart advices. Owner of a clinical eye, he can spot perfection amidst chaos as easily as a small imperfection on a perfect photo. He's also an occasional stork stalker and, above all, a caring father of two beautiful children. Gastão's current location: Covilhã, Portugal.
... give us a hand. He's our Computer Science genius and is currently addicted to photographing cats. He's a natural born optimist who makes a joke out of anything... don't mess with his Toyota though. Eventually, his stocks will rise from death and he'll invest in livestock and vineyards. He's got highly trained fingers either playing the piano or shortcutting photoshop. We hope he'll stick around after marrying his college sweetheart. In the mean time, he'll dissect every submitted photograph into binary code. Pedro's current location: Covilhã, Portugal.
... would only be true if reading travel, geographic and surfing books/magazines accounted some mileage. He checks his e-mail every 2 minutes and he's often seen going cold-turkey when offline. Still divided between several walks of life, he strongly believes in Murphy's law "If anything can go wrong, it will". Photography plays a huge role in his life, at least judging by his conversation topics. Gray hair will eventually take the better of him. Pedro's current location: Covilhã, Portugal. Pedro's blog, personal/work homepage and facebook.