If you have ever wondered what it is like inside a ger – the round felt tents that Mongolian people live in (known as a yurt in many other countries) – here is a shot of the inside of one. This was taken when I visited a family living on the steppes a couple of hours east of Ulaanbaatar. We had to ford several rivers in an old Russian high wheel base troop carrier to reach this ger, and there was no sign of any other human beings for as far as the eye could see in all directions. All of the gers that I saw in Mongolia had the same orange support poles and intricately decorated orange tables. The only difference in the colour schemes was in the rugs that are hung around the walls. The orange pole on the right of the picture is the centre support pole that is holding up the roof – so you have to be careful not to walk into that! There is usually a table and stove in the middle of the ger and then beds and cabinets around the outside. The old man in the centre of the picture (note his traditional boots) is sitting on one of the beds which doubles as a set of drawers for storing clothes. The bed on the left is a more traditional iron bedstead. Visitors to a ger have to sit on the beds as there are no chairs apart from the small stools around the centre table (which the other three family members are sitting on). The woman on the right is sipping hot Mongolian tea – which I tried, but is too milky and salty for my taste. In the middle of the table are plates of dried milk products (called tsagaan idee) which are always offered to visitors. What I was offered tasted like chewy dried yoghurt – palatable but rather bland. The old man also offered me his snuff box, and it is considered polite to take at least a small sniff. The black and white TV is being powered by a car battery on the floor by the side of the bed, which in turn is powered by a solar cell on the roof of the ger. If it rains during the day, they cannot watch TV at night. Note the old rabbit-ears TV antenna stuck up in the roof of the ger. The distortion in this photograph is of course caused by the very wide angle lens that I had to use to get as much of the inside of the ger into the shot as I could (focal length was 12 mm). I cropped a little off the bottom of the shot (it was only bare carpet) and increased the colour saturation a little to compensate for the effects of the flash.
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jeanfrancois (1260) 2005-06-19 10:37
Interesting "insider" shot once again. Your note is very informative.
I like the blend of traditionnal details (boots, cloths, furniture) and very modern accessories (solar cell powered TV).
I suppose rainy days are better than TV days for social life...
faubry (35447) 2005-06-19 17:10
oauh!!! very good shot from Mongolia, i like this interior with vey good colors! you have well captured! very interesting note, thanks
i am going to Bouriatie, approximativ the same landscape
ninadev (5377) 2005-07-20 7:24
Very interesting, as well as your note. They are so concentrated on the TV show that they don't even seem to mind about you taking a photo... modern times.. The place looks cosy but so crowdy. Very good shot.
frozenjazz (303) 2005-11-14 3:03
Very interesting note, I really enjoyed reading it. The photo itself is full of details, the orange color is everywhere and gives a unity to the image.
I find quite amusing that they seem not to care at all about you, which in the end gives a very natural shot.
Wide angles are a must in such cases ! I guess you have an external flash ? With my own wide angle (Canon, sorry :) the internal flash is obstructed by the lens.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2004-09-14
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED
- Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
- Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2005-06-19 10:28
- Favorites: 1 [view]