What's the Silk Rail Road?

The 'Silk Rail Road: From Astana to Beijing' 'photography book is an intimate portrait series of the voyagers along the Silk Road. We sought to tell the stories behind the people met on trains between Kazakhstan and China. By retracing Marco Polo's footsteps, we were able to photodocument life from Central Asia to East Asia. Ultimately, our project creates a voice for Kazakh and Chinese people to visually illustrate their lives to a wider audience on their own terms.

What's your inspiration? 

Our project, the Silk Rail Road was the dream of two photographs to visit the countries of their ethnic origins. As first ands second-generation immigrants of Kazakh and Chinese origin, this series reflected our fears and struggles of not belonging. We sought to return to the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that connected our two countries, and to share the unexplored cultures and faces of Kazakh and Chinese people today.

Trace our Journey

In late August 2012, our dream was realized when we completed our first Kickstarter campaign. we successfully fund-raised over 9 thousand dollars in less than 25 days. By October 2012, our visas and passports returned. We were ready to embark. By mid-December, we reached China and set across the entire country. When we returned in March 2013, we arrived in New York with over 125 GBs in photos and videos, 20 rolls of film, over 50 pieces of memorabilia from the trip (ex. train tickets) and gifts for our executive backers and families. The next four months, we spent each day working on production. Initially, we developed the rolls of film and digitized them. We sat with all our images and began a long-winded editorial stage of image selection and editing of each photograph. Afterwards we worked our designer Kenny Batu on the book editorial. We collaborated with different printing presses and binders for our final books, prints and digital content for our Kickstarter backers. And now, we have decided to bring our proud efforts to the public.