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Sven Zellner April 30, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Mongolia.
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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2014

Sven Zellner (b.1977, Germany) received his diploma in cinematography from the University of Television and Film, Munich in 2010. His work moves between film and photography, and between art and documentary practice. In 2012 he received the ARTE-Documentary Film Award for his debut documentary film Price of Gold, a portrait of Mongolian nomads illegally prospecting for Gold in the Gobi desert. His photographs have been published in: GEO, Terra Mater, DAS MAGAZIN, Leica Fotografie International, and VIEW. Sven lives in Munich and lectures at the HFF, Munich and the University of Applied Science, Darmstadt. He is currently working on projects in Romania, Greenland, the USA, and Mongolia.

About the Photograph:

“In the autumn 2013 I began my project Mongolian Disco focusing on the urban life in Ulaanbaatar. A rush for natural resources like coal and gold has filled pockets in Mongolia, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But the country is also facing rising inequalities. Members of the upper class in Ulaanbaatar enjoy a luxurious life-style while two-thirds of the population live on the outskirts in massive yurt districts.”

“I took this photo when it was still dark when I woke up. Through the window I could see that there was fresh snow. I got out and walked through the darkness some kilometers north into the yurt district to take photos. I was on my way home when I came to this place with these tracks curved through the snow, the fences and the construction site in the back. A girl was walking next to me on her way to school. I climbed on a sandpile to take the photo of her crossing the tracks. I was lucky that there was a pile to climb on and that she didn’t look at me. After I took the photo I had to rush back because at that time I was in Ulaanbaatar for the shooting of an independent movie by the Mongolian-German director Uisenma Borchu. I was the cinematographer for that film and I had to be at the set in time. The title of the film will be Don’t Look At Me That Way.”