Nomads - The Arsanalievs are one of thousands of semi-nomadic Kyrgyz families who take their sheep up into...
The Arsanalievs are one of thousands of semi-nomadic Kyrgyz families who take their sheep up into the mountains every summer. Akkya, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - The family Niva precariously squeaks past a shepherd and his herd on the winding mountain roads...
The family Niva precariously squeaks past a shepherd and his herd on the winding mountain roads descending from Song Kol to Akkya. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Arsanaliev Zamir (65) and his grandson Tarstan (10) riding to the first yurt camp in a rented...
Arsanaliev Zamir (65) and his grandson Tarstan (10) riding to the first yurt camp in a rented Soviet-era truck. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - A semi-nomadic family arrives in Song Kol to set up their yurt camp. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan....
A semi-nomadic family arrives in Song Kol to set up their yurt camp. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - The Arsanalievs and a few neighbors from nearby camps help pack their yurts for their move from...
The Arsanalievs and a few neighbors from nearby camps help pack their yurts for their move from the intermediate jailoo (alpine pasture) to their summer pasture in Song Kol. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Sergey (37) helps erect a yurt. Yurts typically take one hour to assemble. Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan....
Sergey (37) helps erect a yurt. Yurts typically take one hour to assemble. Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek (20) walks back to his family's yurt after falling trees for firewood in the...
Myrbek (20) walks back to his family's yurt after falling trees for firewood in the intermediate Jailoo. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Zamir and his grandson mark the family's sheep and goats with homemade pitch in the early...
Zamir and his grandson mark the family's sheep and goats with homemade pitch in the early morning. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - A young boy helps isolate a few goats from the herd. Children start working with livestock and...
A young boy helps isolate a few goats from the herd. Children start working with livestock and fulfilling their age specific duties to the family at seven years old. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Sheep are marked with homemade pitch to differentiate between those owned by the Arsanalievs and...
Sheep are marked with homemade pitch to differentiate between those owned by the Arsanalievs and those belonging to other families. Taking care of other people's livestock is the main income for the family. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - The entrails of a freshly slaughtered sheep are rinsed before being cooked intro various...
The entrails of a freshly slaughtered sheep are rinsed before being cooked intro various delicacies. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - A meal of freshly slaughtered mutton is served to guests from a neighboring yurt camp. Seating...
A meal of freshly slaughtered mutton is served to guests from a neighboring yurt camp. Seating arrangements and the order in which people are served at meals follows a very specific hierarchy according to age, gender and number of children. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Zamir looks out onto the gradually transforming landscape as he rides from the village of Akkya...
Zamir looks out onto the gradually transforming landscape as he rides from the village of Akkya to the Alpine lake Song Kol. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - A young boy from a neighboring yurt camp collects a sheep from the Arsanaliev family herd that...
A young boy from a neighboring yurt camp collects a sheep from the Arsanaliev family herd that his father purchased earlier in the day. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Myrlan (29) rests in his yurt after work while his wife Aigerim (25) prepares tea. Naryn Region,...
Myrlan (29) rests in his yurt after work while his wife Aigerim (25) prepares tea. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Myrlan and Aigerim troubleshoot their Niva's faulty motor. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan....
Myrlan and Aigerim troubleshoot their Niva's faulty motor. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek and Altynbek (5). Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Myrbek and Altynbek (5). Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Alina (20) and Tarstan look down into the steep mountain pass leading up to Song Kol Lake. Song...
Alina (20) and Tarstan look down into the steep mountain pass leading up to Song Kol Lake. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek briefly rests from a long day of collecting firewood in a small forest. Naryn Region,...
Myrbek briefly rests from a long day of collecting firewood in a small forest. Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
Nomads - Water is provided to the nomadic families around Song Kol Lake via soviet-era wells. Song Kol,...
Water is provided to the nomadic families around Song Kol Lake via soviet-era wells. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek and Alina make the most of a rare cellphone signal captured on a hilltop near Sond Kol....
Myrbek and Alina make the most of a rare cellphone signal captured on a hilltop near Sond Kol. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek studies a German textbook by headlamp before bed. He has taken to studying German in hopes...
Myrbek studies a German textbook by headlamp before bed. He has taken to studying German in hopes of one day working in tourism. Song Kol, Naryn Region, Central Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Nomads - Myrbek looks for separated sheep during a freak hail storm. Song Kol, Naryn Region, Central...
Myrbek looks for separated sheep during a freak hail storm. Song Kol, Naryn Region, Central Kyrgyzstan. June 2018.
Nomads - The aftermath of a sudden hail storm. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.
The aftermath of a sudden hail storm. Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan. June, 2018.

Nomads

Luke Oppenheimer
Documentary Photography + Visual Storyteller based in Brooklyn, New York
Every year from June to August semi-nomadic Kyrgyz families take their goat and sheep herds to graze in nutrient rich, high-alpine pastures. From sunrise to sunset these families drive their herds through the mountains every day. I joined the Arsanaliev family for one month in the high reaches of Song Kol Lake which sits at 9,000 feet. The days were long and the weather was unpredictable. Clear skies often gave way to hail and thunder storms. This traditional nomadic lifestyle has been practiced by the Kyrgyz for well over a thousand years; and even though many younger Kyrgyz now seek employment in urban centers, the semi-nomadic tradition still thrives.

Public Story
Nomads
Copyright Luke Oppenheimer 2022
Updated Jun 2018
Location Kyrgyzstan
Topics Agriculture, Animals, Community, Culture, Documentary, Environment, Freedom, Journalism, Migration, Personal Projects, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture, Travel, Wildlife, World, World heritage
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