This article highlights the remarkable journey of a photography team in the pastoral area of Solbastao in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China. The “Wumot” photography team, which means “hope” in Kazakh, was formed in 2018 by Tan Chengjun, a member of the Photojournalist Society of China. The team, composed mainly of local herdsmen, has captured over 10,000 photographs using their mobile phones, showcasing the stunning pastoral landscapes and the nomadic lifestyle.
Tan Chengjun’s involvement was sparked by his experience shooting wedding photos for a herdsman’s son. This led to an outpouring of interest from other herdsmen who wanted to learn photography. Tan became the team supervisor and guided these amateur photographers, offering practical advice in simple terms to help them capture the beauty of their surroundings.
The team’s photos encompass a wide range of subjects, from landscapes to the daily life of the herdsmen and their connection with animals. The simplicity of their equipment, mainly mobile phones, did not hinder the quality of their work. The team’s photographs have impressed Tan and others with their unique perspectives and the special quality they possess.
Photography has not only brought joy to the lives of the herdsmen but has also allowed them to better record their lives and their evolving hometown. The local government has supported the team by organizing photography exhibitions to showcase their work, with participants receiving prizes as recognition for their efforts.
The article ends with a note about Tan Chengjun’s recent visit to Solbastao, where he did not find Ahli, one of the photographers. He speculates that Ahli might be tending to his sheep or searching for a cell signal, leaving his whereabouts uncertain.
The provided photos capture moments in the pastoral area of Solbastao in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, showcasing the involvement of Tan Chengjun, a member of the Photojournalist Society of China, in teaching and explaining photography techniques to local herdsmen. These photos depict the interaction between Tan Chengjun and the herdsmen, as they learn to capture the beauty of their pastoral surroundings using mobile phones. The aerial photo offers a breathtaking view of the vast pastoral landscape of Solbastao. These images collectively portray the essence of photography as a means of preserving and sharing the unique beauty of the region and the pastoral way of life.