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Frederik Buyckx - 2017 Sony Professional Grant

Semi-nomadic life in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan has always been a nation of horsemen and has rich nomadic heritage and traditions that have been woven into the identity of the Kyrgyz people. During summer months, many families continue to graze their herds in mountain meadows, called jailoos, preserving old customs and ways of nomadic life. In winter the shepherds and their livestock have to deal with incredible harsh weather conditions in the mostly mountainous terrain.

Most winter evenings these days are spent in front of a television and the warmth of an always-burning stove. And although even the isolated areas often have cellphone reception nowadays, most of their daily life hasn't changed much in the last decades.

The horse has always had a central role in their semi-nomadic life. It is crucial to herd their animals in the mountains and the horse is also indispensable for its milk and meat. Also the Kyrgyz like to spend their leisure time on the back of a horse and they often play games in which horsemanship dominates all competitions, like Kok Boru in which teams on horse fight over a carcass of a sheep.

 

Frederik Buyckx - He was born in 1984 in Antwerp, Belgium. He received a Master’s Degree in Advertising Design at St-Lucas Antwerp and studied photography until 2013 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium. Frederik became a freelance photographer in 2010.

Since then, he started working for national and international media. Besides assignments, he mainly focuses on personal projects. For his previous series “Jesus, Make-Up and Football” he documented the daily life in the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. The work won several awards, including a World Press Photo Award in 2013, and was published in a book by Lannoo (Belgium).