i got an e-mail from dutch photographer ‘marrigje de maar’ yesterday (i know… don’t even try pronouncing her first name if you’re not dutch)
marrigje is a case apart, she only started photographing in her sixties and is travelling all over the world for her projects at the moment, she is very productive and has a single minded vision, she makes what i would call portraits, but then without any people in them, she shoots interiors in such a way that you can feel the presence of the occupier
this is an excerpt from her e-mail:
I returned safely from a most impressive trip to China, west of the Great Wall. Together with my guide Ah Hong, I visited many places in Ninxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang. We travelled by plane, trains, nightbuses, traditional local busses and local combined taxi’s. One quite bumpy trip over the grassland on the buggy of a motorbike, clenching to the coat of a mongolian herdsman and one very special day in an Uygur mountain region near Keryia, where two local schoolteachers took as around on their bikes to several far away mudhouses. Only the camel we did not take. Our local driver was not fond of coming with us to a village that could not be reached otherwise.
We tried to keep track of the distances we covered. But no way…it was just too much.
The people we visited were Hui, Tibetan, Uygur, Kazakh, Kyrgis, Tadjik or Mongol. As we had to overcome many language difficulties, much traveling was done by private taxi and local drivers. Our drivers acted as both our guide and our translator. They even sometimes became very valuable camera-assistants. Wherever we went, in villages, grasslands, very remote places high in the mountains or deep into the Taklamakan desert, everywhere we were met with the greatest hospitality. We ate, drunk and slept with the local population. Sometimes even our hosts became our guides. They accompanied us to even more remote places and special adventures. Often I have been deeply moved by the friendliness and great generosityof all those people. I have no proper way to thank everybody for all the efforts they did to make this trip so remarkable.
Many Han Cinese people are immigrating into these areas. As a result of this most bigger cities on the Silk Road have changed into Chinese cities. But in the country side we noticed only very few Chinese influences.
It was an emotional and enervating trip. Therefore it took me a little bit longer to make the selection.