Five Stans 04,

Dear Reader (2023-10-18),
In today’s single blog post, or pair of Facebook posts I re-label myself and we visit a desert canyon.

As some of you know from my new Cartes de Visites, and some of you may have noticed on my website, I no longer consider myself a photographer.  The world does not need another photographer.   Furthermore, I always felt that the appellation fit me like a shirt I sometimes wear but isn’t really comfortable.   Instead, I now call myself a wanderer, and that shirt fits me much better.  To my mind it is a liberating and playful label that frees me from unhelpful personal expectations, and unhelpful existential questions such as what is a real photographer, and am I one? Those questions are gone.  I will though continue to capture images, try to become better at seeing, and work at improving my craft. 

Now, I have a label that I think captures what I have been doing for decades, as I continue to wander, sometimes with acute focus, through living, words, art, history, familiar and unfamiliar places.  As JRR Tolkien wrote “not all that wander are lost”.

The previous post ended with me headed for somewhere.  That somewhere is the Charyn Canyon (Kazakhstan), which has been called the Grand Canyon of Central Asia. That is not fair to either Canyon. With this day I’m beginning to understand that as much we like to compare the unknown to the known, we do the new experience a disservice by not accepting that experience for what it is.  As the trip progresses this thought will resurface, and eventually go away as I come to relish and accept the endless visual and conceptual collisions of Central Asia.

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As always, all comments are welcome and sought.
Cheers, Sean

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2 Replies to “Five Stans 04,”

  1. Image two seems to have taken a vacation, or got lost in the desert. None the less. I’ve only seen the American Grand Canyon from the air, and prior to this blog had not known there was a Grand Canyon of Asia. Thus in my case, the comparison would accomplish nothing but empty text which takes up space. How faint it might or might not be is left as an exercise for the individual reader and the settings on their browser. I often find myself embiggening text on various website. Some behave better than others.

    What the photos remind me of is the Alberta Badlands, especially 18 and 19 and maybe 10. I think that is a reasonable comparison.

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