Our world is a magical place filled with beauty. Following the Great Silk Road, photographer Alex Pflaum ended up in Bulunkul, the coldest town of Central Asia and one of the most remote places in the world. He had a Leica Sofort camera with him and used it in two best possible ways: to tell the story of this wonderful place and its villagers, but also to break the language barrier with them.
Bulunkul is located deep in the high Pamirs, just 16 kilometers from the M41 road. It’s a small piece of land, having only 45 homes and 306 people living in them. There’s a large lake of the same name, and people use it to fish and swim during very short summer months.
Alex and his brother visited Bulunkul in mid-April 2018, planning to stay for one night. However, one night turned into three. They shared yak milk with the villagers, lived with them without running water or electricity. And Alex used every opportunity to take photos.
By the end of the third day, Alex writes that “about half of the villagers had a photo taken of them.” For some of them, it was the first time to see a picture of themselves.
“Getting to share such a simple, but profound experience with these people was genuinely moving, and has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on how I view photography. The photographs were able to break down a barrier that language (or lack thereof) simply couldn’t.”
I dream of visiting every corner of the world, but I know it’s not a very simple thing to do. So, I enjoy stories like this that take me on a journey to some of the most remote places of the world. Alex’s photos talk to us about the life of Bulunkul’s people, but they also helped him talk to them in a way.
Alex has plenty more photos from this amazing journey on his Instagram profile. He has also prepared the book named The Overland Book, and you can support it on Kickstarter. I now leave you to more wonderful photos of Bulunkul and its people, and make sure to read more about the trip on Alex’s blog.