this summer we got an amazing opportunity to go on a ten-day motorcycle trip across the scarcely populated steppes of mongolia and live their nomadic life.
while researching mongolia prior to our trip, we found out that most of the native mongolians love having photographs taken of themselves. although mongolia's capital, ulaanbaatar, is fairly urbanized, modern technology is not as commonly seen in the countryside. many of the families we met had very few or no pictures as a family together. most opportunities to have a printed photo of themselves either came from tourists or from visiting the city. also, most young people (we met a boy Vanessa's age, 17, who didn't have a printed photo of himself) have never had a photo to keep of themselves. we decided to bring a bunch of polaroid film along on our motorcycles so each local we met along the way could have a picture to keep of him or herself!
when we asked one family if we could take a picture of them, we were kind of scared of bothering or distracting them from their daily life. we didn't see the family for the next ten minutes so we assumed they didn't want a picture. finally, the family (the first family seen in the video) came out of their yurt dressed in traditional celebratory clothing! we were so honored to be able to capture a moment of them together.
people huddled around us just to have their photo taken and once they got one, they'd return to their yurt, but eventually return with other friends or family members who also wanted a polaroid.
each person photographed really prized and protected his or her polaroid (fearing that we wanted to keep it), and barely let us see it when it was developed! the children automatically stored it away once we showed them it. it was a really great experience and showed us how much just one photograph can mean to people. although many people claim they want to escape this mess of technology in more developed countries, we often tend to take the beauty of some technology, such as photography, for granted.
anyways, this video is the reactions of just a few people we photographed...enjoy! :D
the song is "janglin' (itunes session)" by edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros
(UPDATE: through articles and this description, there have been several misunderstandings.. we're sorry for any misunderstandings and we hope we cleared it up! we made this video originally just for ourselves, our friends, and our family. we never imagined it would get this many views, although we're very grateful for them, so our description might not have been perfect.. we don't want to blame any articles either, because our original description for our intended few viewers was a bit ambiguous. we hope you can please ignore any misconceptions and enjoy the profound delight these people received from the magic of photography! :) their nomadic lifestyle is very beautiful, but just different to ours. our trip to mongolia was a very unique and special experience, which we hope to share with as many people as we can.)