Tracing the lost history of post-Soviet Kazakhstan

Tracing the lost history of post-Soviet Kazakhstan
Nomad’s Land — Photographer Dieter Seitz goes on a journey through the vast rural landscapes and built-up inner cities of Kazakhstan – the homeland of today’s urban nomads.

For Dieter Seitz, Kazakhstan has always been a land of mystery. The Berlin-born photographer has been travelling to the former Soviet republic for nearly a decade now, staying and shooting there for weeks at a time.

The main draw, he claims, is the country’s lost identity. Kazakhstan is filled with contradictions, and Seitz is keen to capture as many of them as possible in his work. His photographs – which are taken in various locations throughout the region – aim to show the complex cultural interplay between the Soviet Era and the new Kazakhstan; between the East and West; and between “revitalised folklore and the modern, consumer world.”

“I wanted to experience more closely what appears, from a distance, to be the most mysterious of the former Soviet republics,” he tells Huck. “Whenever this land came into my field of view, images appeared in my mind’s eye of encounters that lay much further in the past – virtual encounters in a sense.”

nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p74_kopie nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p97_kopieThe resulting body of work can now be seen in his new book, Nomad’s Land. Published by Hatje Cantz, it covers the full extent of Seitz’s travels; from the vast rural landscapes to the built-up inner cities. According to him, the collection is an attempt to measure the “continuity, decay, and the comeback” of a post-Soviet society.

“I believe all photography is political,” he adds. “Nomad’s Land has a strong political layer – there is a social story, and by means of photography, I’m offering interpretations of it… I hope my pictures will contribute to a more empathetic understanding between people from different cultures.”

nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p100_kopie nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p12_kopie nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p30_kopie nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p92_kopie nomadsland_c_dieterseitz2017-p91_kopie

Almaty, 2009

Nomad’s Land is available now via Hatje Cantz.

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