Thursday, September 16, 2010
“Mongolia: Land of the Deer Stone” by Elaine Ling
Gazing at “Mongolia: Land of the Deer Stone,” Elaine Ling’s new book of photographs is like visiting a distant portal that transports one into the past lives and living culture in the ancient landscapes of Mongolia.
This hardcover coffee table format book is printed on pleasing heavy stock with 116 black and white photos comprising sections devoted to studies of: The Land, Shamanistic Markings, Deer Stones, The Nomads, Ger Interiors, Buddhism, and Turkic Stones.
Wielding a large format 4x5 view camera with tack-sharp resolution, Ling’s photography establishes the timeless context of Mongolia's rugged terrain through galvanizing renderings of ancient canyons, gnarly rock formations, the Gobi Desert, the Flaming Cliffs and seemingly endless horizons. These stark studies make a strong case for Mongolia being the home of the quintessential, ancient Asian Badlands.
Ling’s images of the Shaman ovoos, sacred stone markers covered with horse skulls, branches and prayers scarves billowing in the wind evoke the spirits of the land through assemblages formed by the contributions of wayside travelers. The photographer’s intimate portrait of Mongolia’s famed Deer Stones somehow humanizes these stoic stone monoliths with their enigmatic faces and engaging eye-level gaze, seemingly at once alive and moribund.
Working with the challenging large format Polaroid film, Elaine Ling has assembled a series of Mongolian nomad family portraits of which several convey the warmth, nobility and enduring strength of the Mongolian people. The group photos inside the traditional gers carry the spark of collective joy at the moment of exposure.
“Mongolia: Land of the Deer Stone,” is a photographic bridge between the ancient and contemporary, anthropology study and personal guide taking us into the lives once lived whose living heritage lingers on today, timeless and eternal.
Lodima Press, Pennsylvania
Only 1000 copies printed,
US $ 98.00