A girl carries a pair of lambs to be reunited with their mothers for the night. On especially cold days the vulnerable young animals are kept warm in cloth bags hung in the herders’ huts. Blanket-draped yaks hunker down outside a young couple’s yurt on the eve of a summer trading journey. A nephew of the khan wears a makeshift face mask to protect himself from the biting winds that can whip through the high-altitude pamir. Two girls venture outside their mud hut after a hailstorm at the khan’s autumn camp beside the Aksu River. Herders adore their cell phones, which they acquire by trading and keep charged with solar-powered car batteries. Though useless for communication, the gadgets are used to play music and take pictures

Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor

Afghanistan’s Kyrgyz nomads survive in one of the most remote, high-altitude, bewitching landscapes on Earth. It’s a heavenly life—and a living hell.

A book of Matthieu Paley’s photographs of the Kyrgyz, “Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World” was published in October by La Martinière in French and Knesebeck in German. He is trying to get it printed in English, too.

Photographs from his two latest trips in 2012 are featured in the February 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine, accompanied by a story by Michael Finkel.

[Credit : Matthieu Paley]


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