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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

27.12.2022

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“The day before this photo was taken, I had spent with gold prospectors close to Tsogt-Ovoo, with the aim of gaining their trust – at first, without taking any photos. Most of the prospectors were nomads, and they were ashamed of digging in the ground. It took a bit of time and patience, but it was the beginning of Ninjas, my photo essay about gold diggers in the Gobi, and my documentary film Preis des Goldes (Price of Gold).

On the afternoon of the second day we headed on in the direction of Dalanzadgad. Dark clouds began to build up and a storm began to brew. The wind stirred up so much dust that you could hardly see anything. All of a sudden, a man wearing traditional Mongolian clothing (Deel) and boots appeared in front of us. I took this photo of him, and then also other storm pictures of nomads who were suddenly driving by on motorbikes. The man and I quickly lost sight of each other in the swirling storm... then a short while later I encountered him again, as he rode away on a horse.”

Text and picture: Sven Zellner
Equipment: Leica M6 with Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Asph
© Gunsmaa Tsogzol

Sven Zellner

Zellner studied Image Design and Cinematography and the HFF Munich, and published his first photo book at age 22. He was the Director of Photography on films such as Walchensee Forever directed by Janna Ji Wonder, as well as Schwarze Milch (Black milk) and Schau mich nicht so an (Don't look at me like that) directed by Uisenma Borchu. His cinematic debut as a director came with the documentary film Preis des Goldes. His photos have appeared in GEO, DIE ZEIT, Das Magazin and Terra Mater, among others.

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