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The Silk Road by Alessandra Meniconzi

in Book Reviews , Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Silk Road is the title of a book recently published by Swiss traveller and photographer Alessandra Meniconzi. I've wanted to post on a review of this for some weeks, but just couldn't find time to do this mini-review will have to do for now.


Bringing together photographs taken during a number of voyages through Western, Central and Eastern Asia, the book retraces the network of routes collectively known as the fabled "Silk Road".

This collection really is something quite out of the ordinary. The photographs of landscapes and people (and The Silk Road is very much about people) are simply radiant. Some good examples of her work from the Himalaya are here. The way in which the light is captured in these photos is difficult to express in words, as so much emotion is conveyed through them. At nearly 250 pages, this is a substantial piece of work. The book is beautifully presented, and a real pleasure to explore. I guess my favourite part is the section on Tajakistan - a practically unheard of Central Asian republic - but there are gems everywhere.

Meniconzi travelled frequently by mountain bike, well off the beaten track, and took the time to become familiar to and with the people of the regions she travelled through. This is no voyeuristic collection, no "click and run" operation, but a work which is full of empathy for the people it represents.

It is telling that she has little time for discussion of the apparatus of photography, revealing only that she uses just a few lenses and a basic camera. Quite a lesson for those of us who are so sure that a better camera and a €10000 lens would make us geniuses.

You can find out more about Alessandra Meniconzi at her web site, as well as information on ordering the book.

I think it is fairly clear that I highly recommend it!

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