China 1980s – People of Inner Mongolia

A retrospective of the people of Inner Mongolia, 1981-83.

Working on a project at Wengniute in Inner Mongolia in the early 1980s when China was in its initial phase of “opening up” was a privileged and immensely rewarding experience. The project had a very high status in Beijing, and was well publicised. A heady experience for a young man on his first overseas assignment.

The photographs exhibited here represent a selection of the extensive landscape and people photographs I made during that time.

The people remain at the foremost of my memories of the Wengniute experience. So it is appropriate that those people are the subject of this series.

Inner Mongolia, China

Inner Mongolia, China

In the photographs you will see work counterparts and their families, interpreters, drivers, cooks and gardener, gatherings at the local cooperative store, outdoor film shows, the naadam (Mongolian tournament) and, of course, banquets.

Inner Mongolia, China

I chose black and white as the medium because it conveys the form and character of the people so well.

The collection is a unique record of that time and place.

The series is presented in this gallery

Alternatively the series, set to the music of Hanggai, may be viewed as a video on Vimeo: