Canon EOS 1DX Mk II
It's pretty tricky trying to herd 2000 reindeer and equally as hard trying to photograph them up close, I used a wide lens as I wanted to show the sea of deer with one of the herders marooned in amongst them. Living a traditional way is not just a choice, it’s a battle to retain a cultural identity in an ever decreasing global society. The tenets forge a life in the harshest of environments, herding reindeer and migrating over 600 miles twice a year, where winter temperatures can reach -50. In Soviet times they were forced to integrate, their own language banned, only allowed to speak Russian. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union they have thrived, passionate about their culture and reindeer, but now facing new threats, climate change, the draw of the big cities for younger generations and the exploitation of their lands by gas companies. In our drive for modernity, governments and companies hunt for natural resources where they can, accessing areas previously un-reachable, often at the detriment of those that live in such environments. For the Nenets, this has strengthened their resolve and determination to protect their heritage, to fight for the traditional way of life and to challenge those that threaten it.
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