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Noriko Hayashi February 10, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. 2013

Noriko Hayashi (b.1983, Japan) began taking pictures for a small local newspaper in Gambia, West Africa, when she was still a university student in International Relations. Working in a small place like Gambia, which is rarely the focus of international news but is full of interesting stories, taught Noriko the value of covering the overlooked realities of every strand of society. She won the first prize in 2012 DAYS International Photojournalism Awards and was awarded three Kiyosato’s Young Portfolio Acquisitions Awards (2010, 2011, 2012). Noriko was also finalist for the Alexia foundation professional grant. In 2013, she won The Visa D’or feature awards at Visa Pour l’Image festival in France. Her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, National Geographic Japan, Newsweek, Der Spiegel and Le Monde among others. Noriko is currently based in Tokyo.

About the Photograph:

I spent five months visiting villages throughout Kyrgyzstan and sometimes I was able to witness the practice. According to local NGO’s, as many as 40% of ethnic Kyrgyz women are married by the process of ala kachuu (‘grab and run’) or bride kidnapping. Though illegal since 1994, the authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice. Most commonly, the putative groom will gather a group of young men and charter a car to go and look for the woman he wants to marry. Unsuspecting women are then often dragged off the street and bundled into the car which takes them straight to the man’s house where frequently the family will have already started to make preparations for the wedding.”

“Once girls are taken inside the kidnapper’s home, female elders play a pivotal role in persuading her to accept the marriage. They try to cover the girl’s head with a white scarf, symbolizing that she is ready to marry her kidnapper. After several hours of struggle, around 84% of kidnapped women end up agreeing to the marriage. Their parents often also pressure the girls, as once she has entered her kidnappers home she is considered no longer pure, making it shameful for her to return home. To avoid scandal and disgrace they tend to remain with their kidnappers. 

Prior to the Soviet period when the people were living a nomadic life, the majority of the marriages were arranged by parents. Although non-consensual bride-kidnapping occurred rarely, it was not common and was not socially accepted. Marriages resulting from bride kidnapping are also thought to result in significantly higher rates of domestic abuse and divorce and numerous cases of suicide amongst women who were kidnapped have been recorded.”

Go Takayama August 12, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in China.
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Kyrgyz- Chinese family. One Year Death Anniversary of their Child.  Xinjiang, China 2012

Go Takayama (b.1982, Japan) grew up in Japan and spent most of his twenties in U.S.A. Over the past three years, he has been pursuing his own ethnic passion working on several personal projects in China. Go received a BA in visual communication and political science in 2008 from Ohio University. He attended Truth With a Camera Workshop (2007), American Diversity Project (2008), Missouri Photo Workshop (2009), Angkor Photo Workshop (2010), and the Eddie Adams Workshop (2011). He received Best of American Society of Media Photographer in 2012. His work has appeared in Prestige Hong Kong, ElleMEN, Aera, Casa Brutus and the Wall Street Journal.

About the photograph:

“This photograph was taken on the first day I met an ethnic Kyrgyz Chinese family, now the subject of my first series of The Edge, about the resettlement and urbanizing community as a result of the completion of the Kayi Expressway in Xinjiang Autonomous region of China. The parents of the family are retired nomads. Now only three out of six of their children carry on a nomadic life up in the mountains. When I arrived and saw their mud-and-thatch house, the family was having the first annual anniversary for their lost son, who died of poor health at only six years of age. The family members and their relatives were visiting the lost son’s grave as they cleaned and prepared a meal. The Kyrgyz Chinese are one of the Islamic minorities in China and transforming generations from nomadic herdsmen to fixed community residents. This is an on-going project to observe the changes imposed as their new town urbanizes after China’s completion of the world’s largest highway network.”

William Daniels July 9, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Osh, Kyrgyzstan 2008

William Daniels (b. 1977, France) began his career by photographing street children in the Philippines in 2004.  In 2007, he won the Lagardere Foundation grant for a long term project on Kyrgyzstan. This story, screened at Visa festival in 2009 and will be published in book form. His long-term work on Malaria, Mauvais Air, was exhibited on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris in 2008 and has received several awards including 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo and 1st Prize in the POYi.  His photographs have appeared in Le Monde 2, Newsweek, Elle, La Republica and Der Spiegel. He has collaborated with organizations including Open Society Institute, MSF, The Global Fund and various UN agencies. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph while waiting in my guide’s car during a traffic jam in Osh, the main city in southern Kyrgyzstan. There was this nice winter light  on the lady’s face that was filtered by the trees along the road. I made two frames. She wasn’t looking at me on the first shot and I finally kept this one as I preferred her expression. This image is part of a long term social portrait of Kyrgyzstan called Faded Tulips. The aim of this work was to establish whether the 2005 tulips revolution was a real hope of change and democratization for Kirghize people. I believe that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is now worse than it was before the Tulips revolution. Frustration and anger are growing and another event -a real uprising this time- is about to happen. Lets hope the new leaders will resist to the appeal of the nepotism that is characteristic of so many central Asian countries.”

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