/18 Family

Elaine Ling Nomadic


Mongolia: Land of the Deer Stone is a visually stunning collection of Elaine Ling’s photography. The book’s sumptuous, oversized book contains 180 pages, with 116 photographs printed from 4×5 Polaroid negatives on heavy cover stock. Dr. Alison Devine Nordstrom, Curator of Photographs at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, wrote the introduction. Her engrossing text introduces Ling’s elegant, deceptively spare photographs. She explains why and how their intimately, lyrical documentation of Mongolia’s vast, half-million square miles of desert and nomadic people is notable. For six years between 2002 and 2008 photographer Elaine Ling explored a culture whose roots were established some 700 years ago, in the 13th century under the rule Chinggis Khan. During her five trips to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert Ling searched for and subsequently photographed Deer Stones, Turkic Stones and the shamanistic stone markers, known as ovoos. Known for her interest in deserts, Ling’s work is characterized by minimal compositions of light and form often mimicking the impactful, yet paradoxically simple desert landscape. Her passion for simple forms and scenes led her to the Gobi in search of a subject scattered throughout: ancient stones. In the process, her impassioned journey and warm nature opened the hearts and homes of people she encountered. It is this unique access that gives the audience a look at a culture currently experiencing a rebirth of Buddhist traditions nearly lost under Soviet suppression. Commanding and intimate, Mongolia: Land of the Desert is a pictorial tribute to a magical and mysterious land, its people, and their traditions. Elaine’s Ling’s compassionate collection provides a breathtaking and revealing peak into a rich culture against an astonishing backdrop of desert, high plains, and mountains.