[As a photographer, peregrinator and naturalist, I have been searching for the ultimate unworldly world. I've always been drawn to unusual travel destinations. For me, to lose myself in a different culture is a great way to find balance in my life.
[Through The Unknown Tashkurgan] unveils an unworldly world I discovered on the Pamir Plateau. At China's western frontier, in the eastern part of the Pamirs and on the [roof of the world] is the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang Province. Tashkurgan has a long history as a stop on the Silk Road. Tajiks reside in relative isolation in the snow capped Pamir mountain range of western China near the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan. There are about 41,000 Tajiks living in Tashkurgan. They live in harmony and intimacy born out of mutual trust and love.
I have an affinity for the culture of the Tajiks in Tashkurgan, as one quarter of my blood is Muslim. In the photographic essay I submitted for the application, my creative urge was to capture the untainted simplicity of the tribe's life and culture. Their culture along with the eco-environment are now endangered, being constantly eroded by the majority ethnicity. Unfortunately, there are times that we have to lose things before we can truly appreciate their existence]. – Li Xinzhao
. (Photos by Li Xinzhao)