2020 — Kyrgyzstan
About this series
This is the story of a former Soviet republic landlocked in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, home to six million people, esteemed for its nomadic traditions, its yurts, its horses, its breathtaking mountainous landscapes and steppe… It holds a less perceptible decor, less alluring perhaps, distant from the stereotypes and necessary embellishments that followed the impenetrable era of the USSR. So how come such photos? These images of desolate landscapes, these troubling portraits of minors, workers, students and elders, these reflections of villages fallen into abeyance, and that sky – that Kyrgyz sky that perpetually seems to give more depth to the many narratives that unfold under its intensity?
These photos are but fragments of reality – facts – in an attempt to reconstitute a concealed story, shattered to pieces, so difficult to gather and put together. With what is left of its broken dreams and surprising vitality, the young republic of Kyrgyzstan is a contradictory Neverland where great aspirations cross paths with remnants of a Soviet era that seem, somehow, frozen in the country’s landscapes and in its people’s minds. A society rooted in environments where pain and isolation come into contact with a somewhat silent resignation. Elliott Verdier’s images not only show the echoes of a wounded past, but of one that has been forgotten, that lurks under the surface, ready to rear its head if only someone paid more attention. (Text by Grégoire Domenach)
Photographer: Elliott Verdier
Based in: Paris, France
Born 1992 in Paris (France).
Elliott Verdier is a documentary photographer. He grows up influenced by a « classical » photojournalism culture, but quickly questions his position as a witness and the subjectivity of his images. His work naturally steers away from hot news and favors the slowness of the large format camera. Driven by themes such as memory, generational transmission and resilience, he surveys territories and photographs with a certain intimacy, and dignity, the people who inhabit them.
In 2017, he completed his first long term project, ‘A Shaded Path’, in Kyrgyzstan. He was helped by the French National Center for Visual Arts in 2019 for his second major project ‘Reaching for Dawn’, in Liberia.
Elliott Verdier also collaborates with the press, especially with the New York Times, but also Le Monde Magazine and Vogue Italia.