100 Words: Photographers Speak

100 Words: Mongolia In Flux

  • Hovorerden plays with his sister during a sandstorm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    Hovorerden plays with his sister during a sandstorm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • A nomad family loads their tent and belongings onto a jeep as it is about to leave. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    A nomad family loads their tent and belongings onto a jeep as it is about to leave. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • The ger where the nomad family lives. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    The ger where the nomad family lives. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Tuvshinbayar ties up his horses to prevent them from escaping during a storm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    Tuvshinbayar ties up his horses to prevent them from escaping during a storm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • A woman walks in an outpost for coal delivery at the border with China. Mongolia, Gobi, White Mountain outpost, 2013.
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    A woman walks in an outpost for coal delivery at the border with China. Mongolia, Gobi, White Mountain outpost, 2013.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Tuvshinbayar milks camels before night. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongov, 2013.
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    Tuvshinbayar milks camels before night. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongov, 2013.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Tuvshinbayar sleeps with his son, Tuyshintugs, after a morning working with his camels. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongov, 2012.
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    Tuvshinbayar sleeps with his son, Tuyshintugs, after a morning working with his camels. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongov, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • A waitress works at the Broadway restaurant, the only restaurant for foreigners in the district. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
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    A waitress works at the Broadway restaurant, the only restaurant for foreigners in the district. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • A Mongolian singer performs at a party organized by the Mobicom cellphone company. Mongolia, Gobi, Dalanzadgad, 2013.
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    A Mongolian singer performs at a party organized by the Mobicom cellphone company. Mongolia, Gobi, Dalanzadgad, 2013.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Munkhdul rests while drinking camel milk tea. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    Munkhdul rests while drinking camel milk tea. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Young boys play in the only public place in the village — the basketball field of the public school. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsestii sum, 2012.
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    Young boys play in the only public place in the village — the basketball field of the public school. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsestii sum, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Tuvshinbayar and his wife tie up a camel to kill him and sell the meat. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2013.
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    Tuvshinbayar and his wife tie up a camel to kill him and sell the meat. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2013.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Saikhana wrestles with one of his friends. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
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    Saikhana wrestles with one of his friends. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • Tuvshinbayar with his children during a sandstorm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
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    Tuvshinbayar with his children during a sandstorm. Mongolia, Gobi, Omongovi, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • A police detective eats in the police department canteen. Mongolia, Gobi, Dalanzadgad, 2013.
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    A police detective eats in the police department canteen. Mongolia, Gobi, Dalanzadgad, 2013.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi
  • In the Tsogttsetsii district, there is only one paved street; the other streets are unpaved and there is always dust. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
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    In the Tsogttsetsii district, there is only one paved street; the other streets are unpaved and there is always dust. Mongolia, Gobi, Tsogttsetsii sum, 2012.
    Courtesy of Michele Palazzi

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This project was born from an interest in documenting the transformation of Asia in recent decades.

The photographs in this series focus on Mongolia, where economic development is hitting the nomad populations living in the desert, changing millennia-old landscapes and traditions. It is an undefined border zone between centurylong traditions contaminated by a modernity that is still very far from progressive.

The purpose, through my experience, is to contribute to the preservation of this moment of cultural shift.

Michele Palazzi was born in Rome in 1984. Since 2011 he has been working on a multimedia project titled Migrant Workers Journey. He has exhibited his work at the New Mexico Museum of Art and at the Fotoleggendo festival in Rome. You can find more of his work on his website and on FotoVisura.

100 Words is a series in which photographers describe their work, in their own words. Curated by Graham Letorney


Curator's Note:
This young photographer brings all of our senses to Mongolia, portraying a country in economic and cultural flux. To view these images we cannot avoid the raw elements, the harsh sun, the endless permafrost. A closer look affords a glimpse into the tension between solitary days on this rugged, open land, and the lonely and muted atmosphere of modern entrapments. And yet the spirit of family, friendship and self-reliance are universally present throughout.

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