Shanghai-based travel photographer Scott Turner likes to document real life, often taking an anthropological approach to his work. He regards people and their lives to be the most rewarding and challenging subject to photograph. In his travels, he admits that he likes to go deep in the places that he visits, opting to stay longer to really invest himself and understand more about the local culture. Avoiding areas that are touristy, he prefers instead to visit less popular destinations, places that Scott says “usually have the most open people and the most interesting stories”.
Scott has lived in Shanghai for two years now, and has visited many of the major metropolises in China. But what he is most curious about are what he calls “the spaces in between”. He plans to spend some time to explore some of the smaller cities and towns in China, as well as other remote parts of Asia in the coming year, and potentially make a book about it. He has been to Xinjiang, the far west region of China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkestan, as well as India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. For him, the region is multifaceted, complex, and wild. “These places are already widely photographed,” Scott says, “so coming up with something new there can be challenging.”
On his way to Kyrgyzstan, Scott passed through Kashgar, the westernmost city in China, located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. A former outpost on the Silk Road, its history stretches back 2,000 years, and today is known for its famous bazaar, a bustling and vibrant daily market. Some parts of the old city, Scott describes, almost felt like scenes that were straight out of Aladdin, while other parts of the city appeared to be undergoing extensive development and were being rebuilt.
It was at the end of 2013 when Scott quit his job as an engineer and decided to travel around Asia for a year. The main reason behind this was because he just wanted to get out of his nine to five routine, explore the world more, and really work on his travel photography. During his travels, Scott did what was probably the wildest thing that he had ever done in his life, which was buy a horse from a local livestock market in Kyrgyzstan and ride it through the mountains by himself for a month. Prior to this experience, he had never even ridden a horse before.
While up in the mountains, Scott met a few Kyrgyz shepherds. After his return, he spent some time talking to a few of his Kyrgyz friends about what he had seen and found out that the shepherds had played an important role in sustaining the local economy in hard times. For Scott, this was a beautiful story, considering that what he had witnessed was the legacy and heritage of the local culture.
Scott prefers to travel on the ground whenever possible. He says, “traveling slow provides me with an opportunity to observe and connect with the world around me in a way that flying does not.” Both times that he travelled to Kyrgyzstan, he spent three days on a slow train from Shanghai to Kashgar and then crossed the border by foot.
The images that Scott photographed during his travels in Kyrgyzstan now form the basis of his ongoing VSCO Artist Initiative project, which chronicles the situation of the local farming community in the Kyrgyz mountains. Scott notes that there are two distinctly different styles emerging in his work: one is a very graphic travel style which stems from his love of the landscape, while the other is a rougher and more emotionally driven reportage style, reminiscent of photographers like David Alan Harvey. While Scott has always enjoyed both styles, recently he’s been more attracted towards the latter. And in many ways, Scott feels that his VSCO Artist Initiative project is an investigation of this rougher reportage approach.
Scott在吉尔吉斯斯坦旅行中拍摄的照片如今成为了他创作中的VSCO Artist Initiative项目的基础，以时间为线索，记录吉尔吉斯斯坦山区的当地农业社区情况。Scott注意到他作品中呈现了两种泾渭分明的风格：一种是如精致画卷般的旅行记录，源自对山川大地之爱；另一种则受纪实文学影响而表现出更为粗犷和情绪化风格，让人想起此类的摄影大家David Alan Harvey。虽然Scott一直都很喜欢这两种不同的风格，但近来他明显更偏爱后者了。Scott觉得，他在VSCO上的艺术家倡议项目就是从不同方面来探索更为纪实粗犷的摄影方式。
At the moment, Scott is particularly interested in exploring climate issues, and in creating art photography books on specific subject matters. He is working on a book about a sport in Central Asia called Buzkashi, which translates literally as “goat grabbing” in Persian. The national sport of Afghanistan, Buzkashi is a game in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a headless goat in a goal. While a great deal of documentary reportage has already been done on the subject, Scott is more interested in capturing the emotions and motions of the sport itself, and in a more graphic and abstract way.
Scott aims to complete his VSCO Artist Initiative project by pairing his photo series from his travels in Kyrgyzstan with a more researched editorial about the local shepherding community. His ultimate goal for the project is “to document the lives of the shepherds, and the issues around modern pastoralism in relation to how it affects the lives of the Kyrgyz people today and for the future, as well as celebrate the deep heritage they have as a people group.”
Scott希望把他在吉尔吉斯斯坦的系列照片与当地牧羊社区深入研究后的文字相结合，用以完成他的VSCO Artist Initiative项目。他对该项目的最终期望在于“记录当地牧羊人的生活，以及围绕现代田园主义如何影响吉尔吉斯人现今的今天以及未来，同时也是对他们作为一个群体所承载深厚底蕴的一种赞歌。”