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Carolyn Drake: “Paradise Rivers”

After three years of traveling in the former soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Krygzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan photojournalist Carolyn Drake put together a project, called “Paradise Rivers,” showing the true heart of Central Asia free of soviet stereotypes.

“There are not any obvious stereotypes,” Drake told The New York Times. “You can find kind of archetypal Soviet things there. But there is also this influence of Islam.  And it’s very close to China.”

Rather than focusing on common U.S. perceptions of the area Drake says her photos reinforce the themes of the environment, politics, culture and change.  She started the project after visiting the region and discovered her desire to explore how the Soviet Union had treated Muslims.  Eventually she decided to explore the deeper themes in the entire region.

Drake’s photos are currently being displayed in the Women in Photography online photo gallery.



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