New Path – A Window on Nenets Life
Published Schilt Publishing, July 2019
Hardback with half dust jacket
144 pages with approx. 115 photos in full color
New Path – A Window on Nenets Life by Alegra Ally is available in stores and online for $50.
For more information or to purchase the book click here.
Image credits: Alegra Ally/Schilt Publishing
New Path – A Window on Nenets Life will be available in stores and online from July 2019 in Europe, September 2019 in USA.
Lena and her daughter Christina are standing at the entrance of their chum. Lena’s large belly is obvious under her dress, and there is no doubt that she is nine months pregnant.
For the four-year-old Christina the vast open landscape of the tundra in autumn is her playground, and she makes a game of breaking the thin ice that forms over the pools of water. Gradually as the winter comes, the air becomes crisper and temperatures begin to drop consistently. The layers of ice begin to thicken and Christina finds great joy in rolling on the thick frozen ice.
For thousands of years indigenous Nenets have led nomadic lifestyles, migrating with their reindeer herds across the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic. The Khudi family is one of 12,000 Nenets still migrating along the same routes as their ancestors did for centuries.
Few people I know would have the courage or the stamina to embark on Alegra Ally’s latest initiative.
Ally is a documentary photographer and anthropologist and she says in her new book,"New Path -A Window on Nenets Life", “I travelled to the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia to join a Nenets family and document their way of life…. For two months I lived on the Arctic tundra with Lena, Lyonya, their daughter Christina, and their three dogs, following the family’s daily rhythms as they prepared for their annual winter migration.”
“In the eight weeks I spent living with the Khudi family in the Yamal Peninsula, the fragility of this environment and the Nenets way of life here was revealed to me. In this period, the winter migration was postponed six times due to unpredictable weather patterns and climate fluctuations that caused a critical lack of snow coverage on the tundra. These conditions not only impacted the Nentsy’s ability to move their herds, but also threatened the herd’s food supply itself.”
The text gives insight into a community that is totally unique. The photos document the day-to-day experience of a Nenet family. I especially love the photos of the 4-yrear-old daughter who seems to be very happy a life without cellphones, social media, or video games. In the end Ally contemplates, “I wonder what the future holds for these people and their highly adapted way of life here at the end of the world.”