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In the remote Tian Shan mountains, bordering China, and five hours away from Kazahstan’s largest city, the town of Tekeli has experienced all the trials of post-Soviet economic and social dislocation. Once a mining center, the struggles and perseverance of the residents of Tekeli are visible on the faces of the people. Gritty and industrial, the city is in essence, a microcosm of the economic decline of the industrial areas in a post-industrial age. Especially because of the aging population that can not leave, and the continuous exodus of youth towards larger cities. Despite unemployment, insufficient pensions and an increasing isolation among this aging population, I have found and tried to capture, the beauty and warmth of a proud population determined to hold on to their roots and way of life in a place that at times feels like the end of the world.

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