Over the last decade, I’ve been drawn to the mesmerizing beauty of Turkmen Sahara for my photography, filmmaking, and documentary projects. Every time I visit this place, I feel an intense emotional connection with the area. The warm and friendly people who live here have been incredibly supportive and have made me feel at home during my work. They’ve become like family to me, and I cherish the friendships I’ve made in this region.


Recently, I embarked on a new project to capture intimate portraits of the people of Turkmen Sahara. It was a journey filled with raw emotions, genuine connections, and unforgettable moments. I was deeply moved by the stories and faces I encountered, and the photos you see here are a reflection of that journey. It’s been an honor to document and share the stories of the people who call this place home.

Turkmen man stand with tradition clothing

A Turkmen man dons his traditional clothing for our portrait photography project, showcasing the vibrant colors and intricate details that reflect the richness of Turkmen culture.”


Turkmen Sahara is not just a place, it’s a vibrant cultural society that is deeply rooted in tradition and history. The people of this area have a unique way of life that is shaped by their beliefs and customs. One of the most interesting aspects of their culture is how it is divided into three distinct parts: men, women, and elders. Each group has its own traditions, values, and ways of life that are passed down from generation to generation.

When I started this photography project, my goal was to capture a glimpse of each of these three groups and present them in a way that would create a comprehensive overview of the Turkmen culture. I wanted to show the richness and diversity of this society, and highlight the unique characteristics that set it apart from other cultures around the world.

To achieve this, I asked the people of Turkmen Sahara to wear their traditional clothes during the photo shoot. Although the use of traditional clothes is not as common in modern times, it still holds a special place in the hearts of the people of this area. I was amazed at how well they embraced this request and how eager they were to share their culture with me. The vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and delicate embroidery of their clothing added a beautiful touch to the portraits, and helped me capture the essence of the Turkmen culture in a way that words cannot describe.

As I worked with each group, I was struck by the beauty of their features, the depth of their emotions, and the wisdom of their eyes. The men, with their strong and chiseled features, exuded a sense of pride and resilience. The women, with their soft features and gentle smiles, radiated warmth and compassion. And the elders, with their wise eyes and weathered faces, conveyed a sense of deep understanding and insight that comes only with age and experience.

A Turkmen man dons his traditional clothing for our portrait photography project
the person’s own home. The house is a beautifully restored wooden structure that dates back over a century, and the man himself was responsible for the renovations.


Photographing a portrait of a Turkmen man is not just about capturing their face. It’s also about showcasing their traditional clothing, which is an important part of their culture. Before I started each portrait, I made sure to consider a few key points, including the type of hat and coat the man was wearing.

In Turkmen Sahara, the weather can be quite cold, so men often wear leather and woolen hats to keep themselves warm. For the portraits, I wanted to make sure that the hat complemented the man’s features and helped to draw attention to his face. I chose a white hat with larger dimensions that added an extra touch of style and sophistication to the overall look.

When it came to choosing a top coat, I wanted to make sure that it didn’t distract from the man’s face, which was the main focus of the portrait. I selected a warm red dress that blended well with the local coverage and helped to create a striking contrast against the stark desert landscape. Although men in this region use a variety of colors to cover themselves, the red dress added an extra level of richness and depth to the portrait.

As I worked with each man, I was struck by their pride in their traditional clothing and the way it reflected their heritage and identity. Each garment had its own story and significance, and I felt honored to capture it through my lens. The portraits were more than just pictures; they were a celebration of the rich and vibrant culture of the Turkmen people.


woman stand with traditional cloth
Their culture and traditions are a source of inspiration and pride


In the culture of the Turkmen people, women hold a revered place. Their role in society is celebrated and respected, and this is something that I wanted to capture in my portrait photography. When I was taking the portrait of this particular woman, I knew that I needed to think carefully about how to convey her status and position within the culture.

To achieve this, I decided to experiment with the angle and perspective of the shot. I lowered the position of the camera, so that it was almost at ground level, looking up towards the woman. By doing this, I was able to create a sense of elevation and importance, emphasizing the woman’s stature and status within her community.

I also asked the woman not to look directly at the camera, but to gaze off into the distance, like the triumphant portraits of Napoleon. This added an extra layer of depth and meaning to the portrait, conveying a sense of strength, determination, and pride.

The result was a powerful and captivating portrait that truly captured the essence of the woman and her position within the Turkmen culture. The angle and composition of the shot conveyed a sense of reverence and respect, while the woman’s gaze hinted at her strength and resilience. It was a privilege to be able to capture this image and to celebrate the unique and inspiring women of Turkmen Sahara.

This portrait captures the wisdom and experience of an elder man in the Turkmen Sahara region. As I approached him to take his portrait, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the knowledge and insights he must have accumulated over his long life.

To emphasize his authority and calculating nature, I asked the man to sit in a particular way and look directly at the camera with a serious expression. I wanted to capture the gravity of his presence, to convey the impression that he had seen and experienced more than most of us ever will.

The man’s face was etched with lines and wrinkles, each one telling a story of his life and the many challenges he had faced. I made sure to capture the details of his face in the portrait, using lighting and shadows to bring out the contours and texture of his skin.


old man look at camera with traditional photo
The object that the old man is holding is an abacus, which is a symbol of accounting.


In Turkmen culture, elders are respected and revered, and their opinions and decisions carry great weight. This portrait pays homage to that tradition, depicting the strength and intelligence of an elder man who has seen and experienced much in his lifetime. As I took this portrait, I felt privileged to capture a small part of this man’s story and to be able to share it with others. His wisdom and experience serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the value of our elders and the importance of honoring their contributions to our communities.

In this portrait project, I focused heavily on the lighting to create a more dramatic effect on the faces of the subjects. By using careful positioning of the light sources, I was able to highlight the contours of their faces and create shadows that added depth and texture.

The goal was to create a sense of drama and intensity in each portrait, while still maintaining a connection to the subject’s traditional way of life. For this reason, I made sure to capture the subjects in their natural surroundings, using their homes and villages as the backdrop for the portraits.

To further emphasize the subject and add contrast to the image, I kept the background darker and less detailed. This helped to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject’s face and create a more intimate and personal connection.

By using lighting and composition in this way, I was able to capture the unique character and personality of each subject, while also conveying a sense of their cultural heritage and traditions.

The end result is a series of portraits that are both visually stunning and emotionally engaging, capturing the essence of the Turkmen people and their way of life in a way that is both intimate and authentic.

Through this project, I gained a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the Turkmen people. They have a special place in my heart, and I will always cherish the memories of this journey.

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