Too often Tajikistan is known only for its heroin industry and for the civil war that has been raging there since independance ten years ago. It is the smallest and poorest of the Central Asian Republics. Difficulty of access, insecurity and incessant inter-ethnic conflict render any travel uncertain. Rip Hopkins spent two months in this country, crossing 13,000 km by foot, on horseback and by car. The images that he brought back show people more than landscapes. Without obvious effects, without yielding to exoticism, the images are calm despite the constant proximity of war, interiors and landscapes alike, they all bathe in a light that brings out the colours that these populations are fond of. It is to the modesty of Rip Hopkins’ approach, and to the sympathy that he was able to generate, that we owe a series of images which « speak » of this unfamiliar landscape, rather than show it.
© Robert Delpire, artistic advisor 2002 for the HSBC Foundation.
This book is published for the 2002 HSBC award.