Photo Story: Kyrgyzstan: A Photographer Documents a Quiet Nation Waking up to a New Dawn

French photographer Elliott Verdier began his career as a photographer with the desire to travel to places he might otherwise never visit and talk to people he wouldn’t ordinarily meet. What initially drew him to Kyrgyzstan wasn't a story, but the lack of. Verdier first travelled there in June 2016 from the sheer curiosity towards a land he didn’t know anything about. “I think I will always remember the first time I arrived in Kyrgyzstan. It was dawn. The soft pink light of the rising sun was touching the wall of mountains in the south of Bishkek. It was all quiet. Everything there seemed eternal.” In some ways, Kyrgyzstan is the kind of place that seems out of sync with the rest of the world. You only need to look at its boundless deserts and pastures, the wind-sculpted canyons and snow-crested mountains to feel time stand still. Until Soviet rule was established in 1918, Kyrgyz people led a nomadic lifestyle. Kyrgyzstan changed dramatically as the Soviet regime brought collectivisation, factories and mines . Besides capturing the country’s breathtaking natural views, Verdier documented the more industrial areas of the country. Today, Kyrgyzstan is undergoing a new sea change: Verdier met and photographed young people who are building their future in media, music and fashion design. “I spent my days with veterans, my nights with the young people. The more I met the new generation, the more I saw a motivation to discover the world and be a part of it.” The series is dedicated to the older generation who gave decades of hard and dangerous work for their country, and the new generation who hope to take Kyrgyzstan in a new direction. 

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