Publisher description for Shaking the dust of ages : gypsies and wanderers of the Central Asian steppe / photographs and text by Ljalja Kuznetsova ; introduction by Inge Morath ; afterword by Marina Rasbeshkina.


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"Ljalja Kuznetsova's work displays a rare combination of visual and emotional perceptiveness, an unusual degree of wisdom, and a lack of sentimentality. Her touch is so light that we might forget the determination and even toughness required to get each picture. Filled with the poetry of freedom, suffering, and pride, her images linger in the mind like personal memories."--Inge Morath (Introduction)

A native of Kazakhstan, Ljalja Kuznetsova traversed the expanses of the Central Asian steppe to photograph the gypsies, or Roma people, whose mysterious comings and goings have fascinated her since she was a child. Shaking the Dust of Ages: Gypsies and Wanderers of the Central Asian Steppe is the first book devoted to these pictures, for which Kuznetsova won the Mother Jones Leica Medal of Excellence and the Paris Grand Prix for Photography.

Kuznetsova's photographs present rare, intimate portraits of gypsies-- whose freedom from the ties of civilization is reflected in the wild winds and unlimited vistas of the steppe landscape. As Kuznetsova traveled through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Ukraine, the gypsies continually inspired her. She found in them a people without frontiers, living independent of politics, religious dispute, or social class. Though their presence on the steppe is becoming a thing of the past, Kuznetsova's cast of characters and their world seem timeless in these images.

With the eye of a poet, Kuznetsova conveys the vitality, pride, and fortitude that have sustained Central Asia's gypsy population through centuries of rough living conditions and political turmoil. From an insider's vantage, she brings us into the heart of a distant land and people.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Romanies Asia, Central Pictorial works, Romanies Russia (Federation) Pictorial works, Romanies Former Soviet Republics Pictorial works, Steppes Former Soviet Republics Pictorial works