Contemplating Mongolian society through lenses of photographers
- By Misheel Lkhasuren -
- Dec 10,2021
For the 55th anniversary of late Ts.Batzorig’s birth, a photographer of the Gamma Agency and the eighth anniversary of the Batzorig Documentary Photography Foundation, the annual photography competition, “New Ouvre – People 9”, presented a photography exhibition between December 4 and 10 at the School of Media and Television of the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture.
The exhibition displayed photographic practices that are both personal and engaged with the social, political and economic realities, traversing contemporary society. Most of the works provoke thoughts on various topics including the struggles of the working class that has been overlooked and left behind, and the need to deal with issues such as deindusrealization, environmental justice, unequal access to care and racial discrimination. They also emphasized people, places and issues that often remain unseen.
I would like to bring attention to the photography of a man polishing shoes, captured by photographer J.Erdenechuluun. The image of a shoe shiner kneeling and being ordered around by a client brings so much context to the photography. Of course, it is difficult to convey the actual meaning and message of each piece to the audience but this photo said it all, loud and clear. It is a hard situation where two perfectives meet, one might think the topic or imagery is horrible, others just accept it as their everyday reality.
J.Erdenechuluun’s photography can give the audience strong feelings and impressions, but the main point is that he tries to bring awareness to a social phenomenon from a very clear and beautiful angle.
B.Zayajargal’s photograph, which illustrates that Mongolia’s nomadic culture still exists, seems simple to us. However, the photographer showed the audience that herders travel long and difficult roads from one grazing area to another during the winter by foot or on horseback, not by car. It depicts the Mongolian culture and beauty of nature but at the same time, reminds the government to make special policies and measures for the “abandoned” herders.
Moreover, D.Erdenebyamba captured a beautiful moment illustrating children during the quarantine period. He portrayed how much children, who had been “locked up” at home for a long time, longed to go out and play in the snow.
Late photographer Ts.Batzorig opened his first solo photography exhibition “People” in 1998, and the second “People” joint exhibition was held in 2013 in memory of photographers D.Davaanyam and Ts.Batzorig. The “New Ouvre – People” exhibition, which has been organized every year since 2014, has featured selected works from the competition.
The annual documentary photography exhibition aims to support young photographers, motivate them to advance documentary photography, and introduce their work to the public. “New Ouvre – People”, a book of the best documentaries of the last 22 years, has also been published. The book contains more than 700 works by 150 photographers. Each photography was reviewed by more than 10 photographers and critics. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, you can view these amazing and inspiring documentary photographies from the book.