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  • Land from the Mongol Empire - Interview with Kim Lau

    Kim Lau has profound interest in Asia and has been travelling and documenting his journeys through Asia since 2005. His first photographic exposure was in 2004 when he embarked on an extended journey in Asia encompassing China, Tibet, India, Pakistan and Xinjiang. He subsequently held an exhibition “One Round In Asia”.

    Trained as an audio engineer, he currently lectures on audio and photography at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. Journeys are the focus of Kim’s works, where he aspires to produce them with photography, video and music.

    He is currently travelling through the countries that made up the four khanates of the Mongol empire. By incorporating existing journeys, a body of works titled “Lands from the Mongol Empire” expects completion in 2015.

    Kim started with the Olympus E-1, and his portfolio has grown with the E-system. He currently uses the Olympus OM-D range of cameras with many Zuiko Digital lens for his journeys through the Lands from the Mongol Empire.




    Q: Why the fascination with the Mongol empire?
    I started with a general interest in Asia, and subsequently refocused to photograph along the Silk Road from China to West Asia through Central Asia. Along the way, I learnt about the histories of the steppes and beyond, and the Mongols were persistently mentioned; literally speaking, they were everywhere.



    Q: How long did it take for you to plan such a journey?
    The journey for Sept 2013 to Oct 2014 took more than a year to conceptualize. I needed support from my resident institution to grant me sabbatical leave and I need to garner financial support the best I could. I establish my communication channels, firmed up my equipment list based on needs versus weight constraints, researched on history and geopolitics, projected my journey route and establish as many contacts as I could. The journey itself had many unknowns, and I had little expectations. I suppose this is the gist of an adventure.



    Q: Can you list the places that you’ve visited to document?
    For 2013/14 Journey: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Georgia, Hungary, Iran, Mongolia, Nargono-Karabakh, Russia, Tuva (Russia), Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
    In addition from 2005-2012 for the project: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, India, Tibet (China), Xinjiang (China), Syria, Jordan, Burma, and Cambodia.
    Future projections: Java, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Poland, Romania, Crimea (Russia/Ukraine).



    Q: Amongst all the places that you’ve been to, which place do you think the Mongol empire left the deepest imprint?
    Traversing the lands of what used to be the 13th century Mongol empire needs plenty of imaginations. Photographing the Hazara people in Bamyan, Hazarajat, Afghanistan in search of Mongolian faces is as vivid it gets. Chinggis Khan left a Tumen (10000) soldiers in Hazarajat after their conquest in the 13th century, and it is believed that the Hazara people had Mongolian ancestry.



    Q: Which areas do you find the most fascinating?
    Perhaps I will list impressions from the regions that fascinates me:
    China – my ancestry, long history and the relentless focus on food.
    Mongolia – where nomadic lifestyle persists, harmonizing beautifully with nature.
    Central Asia – core of the Silk Road with fascinating transition of facial features.
    Russia – you will never know about the Russian world until you get in, and basic Russian language is essential.
    Caucasus – landlocked mountain people, with many similarities but deeply divided by religion and politics.
    West Asia – or middle East, to include Iran, are the sweeping changes through history these regions went through.
    Egypt – long and intertwined histories, 3 millennia of Pharaoh rule, 1 millennia of Greek/Roman rule, and 1 millennia of Islamic rule.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Land from the Mongol Empire - Interview with Kim Lau started by Editor View original post