John Alexander

Generations


Spurred by an enduring sense of exploration, adventure photographer John Alexander travelled to one of the least densely populated regions on Earth – the western reaches of Mongolia – to trace the traditions that lay at the heart of Kazakh culture and to capture the characters that form the fabric of their community. This immersive project began in the bustling capital of Ulaanbaatar from where John headed west, skirting the fringes of Siberia to the north before finally arriving within the desolate plains of the high Altai and the western reaches of the country.

AIBOLAT

Warmly welcomed by the first of two herding and hunting families, John stayed with Aibolat, a proud 19-year-old herder, hunter and head of his small family. Like his fellow countrymen, Aibolat was warm, welcoming and incredibly hospitable. With little time for recreation, he and his younger brother juggle a myriad of tasks to manage the herd and horses within a barren landscape where winter temperatures can plummet as low as -35C. It is during those particularly testing months, when the vegetation is most sparse, that he and his brother hunt on horseback. 

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 SEC
APERTURE: F/6,8
FOCAL LENGTH: 21MM

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/90 SEC
APERTURE: F/11
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM

Using a Golden Eagle and Falcon to search and strike prey, they patrol this area, navigating mixed terrain that ranges from frozen deserts, lakes and rivers, to the shale and shingle of the mountain slopes. As proud of their traditions as they are of their horsemanship, Aibolat provides an incredible display, illustrating how he comfortably recovers his (7 kg) Golden Eagle from full flight, riding one handed and while underway.

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/750 SEC
APERTURE: F/4
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/350 SEC
APERTURE: F/6,8 
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM

The last of the hunters

This form of hunting has become scarce, with just 90 or so hunters left. However, akin to the people whose tiny settlements punctuate the undulating landscape, pockets of knowledge endure that are passed on, both out of necessity and tradition.

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/2000 SEC
APERTURE: F/4
FOCAL LENGTH: 90MM

BASHAKAN

Arguably this sense of tradition and passing of knowledge is epitomized within the home of revered Eagle Hunter Bashakhan. At 55 years old and host to three generations, he has passed his knowledge to his son with whom he hunts, and in turn, to his young grandchildren as they have recently begun to learn how to feed the Eagles and take their first steps on horseback.

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/180 SEC
APERTURE: F/3,2
FOCAL LENGTH: 90MM

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/500 SEC
APERTURE: F/8
FOCAL LENGTH: 21MM

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 SEC
APERTURE: F/11
FOCAL LENGTH: 21MM

Twice a year, he and his fellow hunters come together to give thanks, celebrate their tradition and to battle it out in a series of hunting and horsemanship challenges. Fiercely contested, hunters and huntresses, young and old, gather from across the country to test their resilience and demonstrate their mastery. 

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/500 SEC
APERTURE: F/4,8
FOCAL LENGTH: 90MM

And at the same time, it grants the opportunity to see the next generation as they ride with evident pride.

SHOOTING ON THE X1D-50C

Given the tactile nature of this project, and needing to travel light, John chose the size and portability offered by the X1D-50c.  Offering exceptional image quality and dynamic range, it’s simplicity of use enabled John to focus on the subject and the moment, rather than the system. 

My journey began in the UK, into China, and over land within Mongolia. Whether bouncing about off-road, on horseback or bracing against the wind while perched on a mountain top, the system never missed a beat. Equally given the challenges of altitude, temperature and unrelenting dust, the build quality of the X1D spoke for itself.

Explore John’s full journey here.


Ruairidh Mcglynn

The Cruel Beauty of Winter in the Scottish Highlands

Ruairidh McGlynn has always been drawn to otherworldly landscapes – and for him, the harsher the environment, the better. Seeking out the winter storms of the Scottish Highlands, he ventured into rain, sleet and snow in weather as cold as -15°C (5°F) with the X1D and XCD 45. Here, Ruairidh was intrigued to capture the cruel beauty of the area’s intense conditions, seeing the Highlands from a fresh, snowy perspective.

Read more

Terry O'Neill

Capturing The Beatles, Bowie, and More Iconic Faces of the Sixties

As the celebrity photographer of the 1960s and 70s, Terry O'Neill photographed them all, from Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot to Frank Sinatra – and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Capturing these figures with his Hasselblad 500CM, his images have stood the test of time as iconic snapshots of some of history's biggest pop culture icons.

Read more

AORTA

Waiting Room

Swedish photo duo AORTA wanted to create a set of images that said something about the complexity of shaping an identity in the contemporary world and the paradox of choice. To illustrate this, the duo collaborated with sustainable Swedish fashion designer Helena Lundström, showing different phases of the subject trying to cut, measure and sow their way through the journey of figuring out who they are.

Read more

Chris Gunn

Documenting NASA’s Work on Planet Earth

Blending science and tech with an abstract touch, NASA contract photographer Chris Gunn has been the lead photographer on documenting the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope since 2009.

Read more

Douglas Kirkland

My Evening with Marilyn and the Day Victor Hasselblad Stopped Me in the Street

Douglas Kirkland shot some of the most sensual and unforgettable images of Marilyn Monroe ever taken with his Hasselblad 500C. It’s the stuff that legends are made of, but even before that, Douglas had a chance encounter with Victor Hasselblad himself.

Read more

Tobias Hägg

Above Stockholm

Capturing the cityscape of the Swedish capital during golden hour, Tobias Hägg's imagery takes us on a journey from above, between Swedish homes and golden-topped trees neatly woven together in combination with wide expanses of the city stretching all the way to the horizon.

Read more

YANAN LI

From China to Sweden with a Hasselblad

Yanan Li fell in love with analog Hasselblad cameras while studying at university in Beijing. Over 40 years later, Yanan finds himself working as the official photographer for Stiftelsen Silviahemmet – founded and chaired by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden – as well as for the Nobel Committee for The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the Stockholm County.

Read more

Gleeson Paulino

Bold Brazil

Brazilian photographer Gleeson Paulino invites viewers to see contemporary Brazil from a new eye. Provoking the senses through a sublime colour flow and exquisite image juxtapositions, Gleeson’s series explores the beauty of Brazil’s bold diversity, from its people to its landscapes.

Read more