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Photo Essay: An Empty and Endless Kazakhstan

It’s 20 degrees below zero, and our Lada doesn’t give a damn. Our driver and guide, Igor, has a picture of Mary and Jesus stuck to his dashboard, just above the steering wheel. Welcome to winter in Kazakhstan.

Winter wonderland: Equivalent to the size of Western Europe, Kazakhstan is unremittingly flat. It’s empty, endless, and mostly covered in snow.

 

The original caravan: While most Kazakhs have bid farewell to the nomadic life, some still live in  traditional yurts. Yurts is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble quickly. They’re made from wood, covered with felt and secured by rope. The men make the wooden frames by hand, while the women create  embroidered coverings in traditional patterns.

Grand Canyon of the East: Close to the Chinese border is the Charyn canyon. Wind, water and sand have worn away the sandstone over millions of years to form a canyon almost 100 kilometres in length. From rich red to a deep orange, the colours are the result of lava rocks and sediment deposited by the rivers which once flowed through the canyon.

Signposts to nowhere: Like the Trans-Siberian Railway, the road system was hugely important. Connecting the far reaches of the Soviet empire meant unifying the people. Commissioned by local authorities, signposts were a form of functional propaganda designed to raise morale. “Using limited materials and a prescribed vocabulary of symbols, the anonymous creators of these works strived for originality.”

Shop our vintage health propaganda posters below or explore the collection here.

Take Care of the Springs! | Russia | 1986£200.00
Life Threatening | Lithuania | 1983£450.00
Let’s Tidy Up Our Environment | Lithuania | 1972£250.00
List of all posters

Further Reading

travel

Welcome to Bulunkul, Central Asia's Coldest Town

Nestled in the center of the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, more than 12,000ft (3,700m) above sea level, there is a small plateau with 45 houses at the end of the road. These houses, home to 306 people, are in the village of Bulunkul, more affectionately known as Central Asia’s coldest town.

architecture

Photo Essay: Turkmenistan's Shining Marble City, Ashgabat

Little of the Soviet legacy survives in Turkmenistan. Since gaining independence after the fall of the USSR, Turkmenistan has articulated a new identity and vision for the future through a series of architectural projects. Photographer Arnau Rovira Vidal visited the insular country and took these photos.

art

Photo Essay: The Unworldly Photos of Industrial Waste Landscapes in Russia

These surreal landscapes look like images of far-off planets. But they’re actually photos of sewage drainage channels, waste-water reservoirs and ash disposal sites. “The superficial beauty of these places conceals a horrendous threat to the environment,” said Alexander Sukharev, who captured these photos.

architecture

Photo Essay: Finding Beauty in Chernobyl’s Decay

Chernobyl’s rapid return to nature puts humanity’s impermanence into perspective. There’s beauty to be found in humanity’s absence. The Pripyat Amusement Park was due to open for May Day celebrations in 1986. It was open for just one day: April 27, 1986 - the day after the Chernobyl disaster.

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