Eleanor Moseman, an American photographer, is cycling through Asia documenting hidden communities, disappearing traditions, and endangered cultures in the region.
As of April 2012, she completed more than 19,000 kilometers, while opening up intimate opportunities to capture photographs of nomadic lives and religious cultures of Western China and the borderlands. Eleanor’s photography explores the "Invisible China”, the often enigmatic and somewhat unknown parts of the world.
She now continues through the borderlands, such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan with an estimated return to Xinjiang and Tibet in late Summer.
Blue is completed route. Red is anticipated route. There is a gap of which route to return to Kham, Tibet.
Where and Why:
Western China and the neighboring post-Soviet countries are rich in cultures. Which religion andtraditional customs play a paramount role in the lives of the these people. Eleanor's hope is to bring awareness, appreciation and compassion of these cultures to the masses.
There is unrest in Xinjiang, Tibet, and other areas, usually stemming from the government's reaction to regional religious practices. Much of the Western world hears of Tibetan protests but very few know of the persecution of the Uyghurs and other Islam groups. Eleanor has been immersed in these cultures, intimately observing their practices, breaking bread with them and sleeping in their homes. She hopes to change the many misconceptions of the word "Muslim" through telling the stories of the beautiful people she has come to embrace.
Eleanor is the voice of the people, who need to be heard. She is compassionate, understanding, perceptive and tolerant of all people. A government rule has deemed illegal the practicing of traditions, threatening to eradicate these intricate cultures within their historical framework. Her images tell the stories and show the true lives of those hidden in the massive land area, Asia.
Eleanor has been referred to as a "Cultural Chameleon". Wherever she finds herself, the locals open their homes and hearts to her, providingimmense opportunities for photography, communication, and sharing cultures. These unique opportunities set Eleanor apart in the photographic and cycling community and makes us want to hear and see more. She takes time to find her place in a foreign land and through respect, warmth and giving, gains trust from people. Eleanor acknowledges, “It's not about getting from one city to the next; the journey happens during those moments in between”.
Eleanor with a local Uyghur (Muslim) family in Kashgar, 2012.
Kickstarter Campaign Funds:
The funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign are used to pay for Eleanor’s continued minor travelling expenses, such as Visas and incidentals.There are some areas where she may need to travel off the bike, specifically in the hidden community of Uyghurs which 300km in the daunting Taklamakan Desert. The prospect of hiring a guide would certainly be safer than cycling down a dried and riverbed.
Also, the funds will help Eleanor afford to set up in cities for a period of time to photograph the community.
Moseman is currently in Kyrgyzstan, after studying Russian intensively for 10 days. She is now headed to Kazakhstan, then onto Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and then, return to China. She is currently planning on spending more time in Xinjiang.
A return to Kham Tibet is also in the works since one of the greatest highlights of the trip thus far is the couple of months she spent in Kham and U-Tsang, Tibet. Eleanor lived with the Tibetans, photographing and experiencing authentic, historic and untampered Tibetan culture. The time spent there would leave a life lasting impression on her and her new friends continually ask when she shall return.
Eleanor plans on living with the Muslim ethnic group, Uyghurs, this summer near the Taklamakan Desert. The local family works on their fruit orchard and Eleanor has been invited to come and live for awhile. She will be arriving just in time for Ramadan, the most important Islamic holiday. Take a moment to see inside a Uyghur home in Kashgar.
Eleanor Moseman is the "Wander Cyclist".
You can follow her travels at www.wandercyclist.com, view selected images taken at emoseman.tumblr.com, or follow her as "nomadspokes" via Instagram. You can also catch some tour video footage on her YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLaPeanut?feature=guide
To view images of the Tibetan nomads, you can see the individual portfolios here: http://www.eleanormoseman.com/editorial/#s1
Eleanor is a Jupiter's Traveller, of the Ted Simon Foundation. "The Ted Simon Foundation believes that individuals of good will, moving among foreign cultures and making themselves vulnerable to the beliefs and customs of strangers, have great importance in promoting world understanding, and even more so when they can distill the essence of their experiences into a form that can be absorbed by many." http://jupiterstravellers.org/2012/01/01/new-year-jupiters-travellers/
"I thank you, with all my heart, for helping me finish telling stories of those that have such a quiet voice in this world." - E
*Everyone that pledges at least $35 will be entered in a drawing for 1, 16"x20" framed/mounted Archival Giclee print. The winner's choice of ANY IMAGE!
- (30 days)