Mongolia's Golden Promises

Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Two women walk along Peace Avenue, handing out perfume samples as a promotion. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Visually in this project, there exists a sense of alienation which at times can seem to pervade Mongolian society -- people not interacting within their world, lost in their own heads. This could be a visual metaphor for what can be the homogenizing and disrupting effects of globalization.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Musicians pause during a funeral for a former military officer. Altan Ulgii cemetery. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Visually in this project, there exists a sense of alienation which at times can seem to pervade Mongolian society -- people not interacting within their world, lost in their own heads. This could be a visual metaphor for what can be the homogenizing and disrupting effects of globalization.Project photographed October 2009-June 20
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Temuulen, 13, has his head shaved by another monk at the Gandan Monastery. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Visually in this project, there exists a sense of alienation which at times can seem to pervade Mongolian society -- people not interacting within their world, lost in their own heads. This could be a visual metaphor for what can be the homogenizing and disrupting effects of globalization.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
A teenage boy stands inside his prison cell at the prison for boys. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Zaisan Monument, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Visually in this project, there exists a sense of alienation which at times can seem to pervade Mongolian society -- people not interacting within their world, lost in their own heads. This could be a visual metaphor for what can be the homogenizing and disrupting effects of globalization.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Backstage after the Gobi cashmere fashion show, Ulaanbaatar.20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Ballet class, Mongolian State College of Music and Dance, Ulaanbaatar. Photograph: Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Boorlojit, 2km SW of Uyanga, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek Independent miners, also known as "ninjas" play pool at their ger encampment (the felt tents). Boorlojit, Mongolia. (2km SW of Uyanga)Ninja miner is a nickname for a person who digs small unauthorized mines or pans dirt for gold in Mongolia. The miners are so named because the green bowls they use for panning, when carried on their backs, are said to resemble the shells of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work digging for gold.more info here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/19/us-mongolia-gold-idUSBRE83I08V20120419
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
Horses are readied for transportation to a stadium for the local Nadam Festival. Bugat, Mongolia. Photograph by Timothy Fadek20 years after the fall of communism, Mongolia is at a crossroads to the future.Despite vast resource riches and a historic mining deal passed by parliament, Mongolia is at a crossroads. After twenty years of democracy, one-third of Mongolians live below the poverty line, unemployment is rising, and many residents in Ulan Bator, the gritty capital, live in ger slums, many without basic services. The rich are making their money in cashmere production and mining and are enjoying the good life. However, the problems of alcoholism, domestic abuse and homelessness remain. In rural areas, nomadic traditions are threatened by drought, over-grazing, and poor education. Potential for change exists, but life for many Mongolians remains difficult.Mongolia faces two paths: Down one, fueled by responsible resource development, lies prosperity -- the Norwegian model. Down the other is poverty, corruption, stagnation -- the Nigerian model.The tensions at the heart of Mongolia are increasing. Nomadic herders are abandoning their way of life to work in the gold mines or to seek work in the capital. A struggle is taking place between modernity and tradition, secularism and Buddhism, democracy and economic repression—often in unlikely and contradictory combinations. It is these contradictions the project addresses and the complexities of a large country searching for a modern identity.At the moment Mongolia is at a political, cultural and economic crossroads that will define the very nature of the country.Project photographed October 2009-June 2011
Mongolia's Golden Promises. A project which questions the concept of East vs West and the process of modernization, urbanization and national identity that is happening against the backdrop of gold mining riches.
A herder who owns more than 400 horses, adjusts the solar panel to his ger in Bugat, Mongolia. Like many nomadic families these days, he now needs electricity to power some new purchases: a television, a satellite dish and a lightbulb that hangs inside.Photograph: Timothy Fadek Project photographed October 2009-June 2011