Nomads of the Blue Skies - A Mongolian Photo Book
Nomads of the Blue Skies - A Mongolian Photo Book
A photo book of a vanishing nomadic culture - images captured while living with Terelj Mongolians.
A photo book of a vanishing nomadic culture - images captured while living with Terelj Mongolians. Read more
Hi, I'm Matt Dutile. I'm a professional travel and portrait photographer living in New York City. For the past few years I've been fortunate enough to travel around the globe creating images for a variety of great magazines, agencies and companies. You can find some of those images from a recent excursion through Asia as examples of my style on this page.
I have a personal connection with traditional cultures around the world, and am particularly passionate about Asian traditions and cultures. How these individuals and societies survive and thrive under extremely difficult conditions is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit.
That's why I want to create a hardcover, fine art photo and coffee table book chronicling the daily lives of nomadic Mongolians in the Gorkhi-Terelj region. With your help, I'll be traveling there in August and September 2014 (this year) to live, work and photograph a group of nomadic families.
Why "Nomads of the Blue Skies"
Why Mongolia? Thanks to its large, open plains and roughly 260 days of annual sunshine, Mongolia has earned the nickname, "Land of the Blue Skies." Horse-riding, pastoral nomadic culture has existed on the steppes of Mongolia for over 4,000 years. Throughout the millennia much of their ancient way of life has remained largely the same.
However, that culture is slowly ebbing away to modernization and Westernization. In place of horses you'll find a growing number of trucks and motorcycles used by nomadic herders. I hope to document and photograph a group of families in their daily lives as they embrace new technologies while keeping alive the traditions and practices that have sustained them throughout history.
Living with Mongolians
I'll depart for Mongolia in mid-August this year, and stay for around six weeks with a group of families in the Gorkhi-Terelj region. This time of year will bring the end of summer greens and beginning of fall colors across the region. I'll live, work and sleep in the gers (tents) with my host families. I believe this complete and total immersion will help me in producing much more relate able and striking images. I won't be a passerby snapping a photo and moving on, but an integral part of my host families' lives for several weeks.
All the details are being coordinated with a global volunteer organization to arrange the home-stays and transportation in Mongolia. I will be powering my equipment with a trekking solar panel and battery kit. There's little or no power out on the steppes (some families have their own solar collection unites), and certainly no Internet. This will make some aspects more difficult, but I also believe it will be easier to connect with my host families and produce great images.
Where Your Pledge Goes
Your support in backing this project will help me photograph a culture and put together a book that I think will be truly special. Your pledges will help with transportation and host family costs in Mongolia (can't be an imposition on my hosts after all) and the design, binding and printing of the final fine art caliber book.
I've secured a reputable fine art and museum gallery book printer based in Berkeley, California for this project. While other self-publishing companies like Blurb would produce a cheaper product, I didn't feel the quality was up to par for what a book like this deserved. The final book will be a large format 12x10" portrait book, between 80-120 pages. It will be bound in linen book cloth and printed on super smooth uncoated paper. I'll also be working with a designer after returning to compile a stunning layout. The final, deliverable piece should be ready in mid-December 2014. Just in time for a nice Christmas gift.
I've designed all the pledge levels on the right to provide you with some really cool options from the project at, or below what you'd find them at retail value. I hope you find something you like! If you have the ability to do so, please consider pledging a book for yourself and a book for one of the Mongolians that will be photographed in it. Many families and individuals have few or no photos of themselves, and this would be a true gift to them that would be passed down through their children and grandchildren.
Kickstarter's All or Nothing Funding
Kickstarter is an amazing way to launch personal projects such as this book, but it comes with a catch... it's all or nothing. That means unless the full funding goal is met, no money changes hands and this book never gets off the ground.
If you can't pledge, and especially if you can, please share this project with your family, friends and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. The more people that know about it, the better chance we have at success.
Thanks for any support you can lend and helping spread the word!
Risks and challenges
There are inherent challenges in a photo project that takes you to one of the most sparsely populated regions of the globe. Here are a few and what I'm doing to tackle them.
1) There may be some minor delays in coordinating with a family - it can be difficult traveling through Mongolia - but this should only delay the start a few days or week, nothing further.
2) Powering equipment is a challenge - but I'll have a solar-powered kit to handle this.
3) Printing may be delayed a bit longer than expected if a design edit takes time and the printer gets backed up. I'll keep everyone updated on this as it progresses and ensure the final book is out as soon as possible.
- (30 days)