Language: Bilingual in English and German
Badain Jaran: more than 19,000 square miles of endless openness, sand dunes up to 1600 feet tall and mysterious saltwater lakes. Badain Jaran is part of the Alashan desert, south-west to the Gobi in the Inner Mogolia province of China. It is a place that has been discovered by American scientists on satellite images in the 1980s only, and that has miraculously been kept hidden to most people since. In 2009-12, photographic artist Carlos Crespo realised a vast photo essay on the unique, spectacular, and very remote landscape of Badain Jaran.
Crespo had to deal with extreme cold in winter and violent sandstorms in spring and autumn in a barely inhabitable environment. Over time he got in contact with some of the few Mongolian herdsmen living on the fringes of the desert and won their confidence and sympathy. This allowed him also to make portraits of these people and document their way of living. The new book Badain Jaran is meant to make this extraordinary place a symbol and metaphor for all untouched natural sites, reflecting their importance and the necessity of their protection from being turned into ever more tourist attractions.
Carlos Crespo studied photography and classical music and lives and works as an independent and internationally active artist photographer in Zurich. His work has been shown in various exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad.
Bill Kouwenhoven, born 1961 in Baltimore, is International Editor of HotShoe magazine and contributes to other photography journals in the United States, England and Europe including Afterimage, Aperture, British Journal of Photography, Photonews, and European Photography. He is also author of various books on contemporary photography.
Cathérine Hug graduated from University of Zurich and has been working as a curator at Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna since 2008.