A new documentary about a young girl hunting with eagles in Mongolia’s Altai mountains casts fresh light on this extraordinary, sparsely populated country and its threatened rural lifestyle
It all started when I saw a spellbinding photo-essay about Kazakh eagle hunters. Israeli photographer Asher Svidensky was on walkabout in north-west Mongolia after national service and started photographing the next generation of hunters training their eagles. There are only about 250 of them left, mostly in the Bayan Ölgii region of the Altai mountains. He stumbled on this young girl, Aisholpan, who was training her father’s eagle. They were profoundly beautiful images and had all the elements of a great film: amazing location, the world’s largest species of golden eagle, and this angelic, strong, young girl succeeding in a male-dominated tradition. I got in touch with Svidensky immediately.
I was immediately struck by the vastness of Mongolia, the unending landscape. Over 10 months, we did eight trips, staying two to three weeks at a time. The area where Aisholpan and her family live is the most remote part of one of the least populated countries in the world. It’s liberating to feel like you’re at the end of the world: it’s so vast it’s oceanic.
Source: The Guardian