Gypset Living
by Brian Hodges


ongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world’s last remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands, and moving their camps several times a year in search of the best pastures. Slowly, however, the steppe’s landscape is changing, as more and more of its nomadic population move to urban areas in search of education, employment, and modern conveniences.


Indeed, modernity attracts not only those Mongolians who have moved to the city, but also those who have chosen to continue with their nomadic lifestyle. Today the nomads who remain on the steppe combine old traditions with new means. They continue their lifestyle as pastoral herders, but many use motorbikes to herd cattle and horses.

To move their homes, trucks have taken the place of ox carts. Solar panels are becoming an addition to the traditional Mongolian home, theger. The panels are a way for them to gain access to electricity without being confined to one place.


With the rise of accessible technology, changes in lifestyle are almost inevitable. But these changes also help longstanding traditions thrive. Rather than abandoning their lives on the steppes, Mongolia’s nomads are adapting to modernization in their own way.

"Today the nomads who remain on the steppe combine old traditions with new means."

The photos were used in the Gypset Living book published by Assouline. Julia Chaplin, the author of the book and I traveled for two weeks across the Mongolian steppe. Some of the shots were taken at the Genghis Khan Polo Club.

By Published on Nov 24 2015