I recently shot a feature story for the New York Times on the anti-vice crackdown in Dongguan, the starting point of a nationwide campaign that has shut down thousands of massage parlors, brothels and hair salons across China. After estimates of hundreds of thousands fleeing Dongguan, the tense mood following the crackdown made it such that much of the shoot became about documenting what remained of the city’s massive, underground sex industry — shuttered salons and adult stores, sex flyers with phones no longer answered, laid-off nightclub employees collecting their final salaries, exotic sharks in 5-star hotels that had ‘deluxe spas’, police tape sealing countless shops and bars. Here are a few outtakes from the assignment.
Check out the new destination feature on Project Bly, featuring four photo galleries of my work from Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Project Bly is a lifestyle website featuring rotating world street market destinations along with wonderful items you can purchase from each place’s bazaars. Profiling street photography, street food and street style from each location, destinations in the past year have included Mumbai, India; La Paz, Bolivia; and Kumasi, Ghana. Since covering the Bukhara shoot for Bly, I have been impressed by their travel philosophy and I’m proud to say I have started working closely with their team as their Photography Advisor. Check out their website and get inspired to travel!
My photo essay – on the migration of thousands of Afghan Kyrgyz nomads from the Wakhan Corridor to Turkey – was featured in a curated show this month at the Obscura Photography Festival in Penang, Malaysia. The theme was ‘Transcontinent,’ featuring continent-spanning migrations, concepts and events, with work by Simon Roberts, Rafal Milach, Chloe Dewe Matthews and others. Much thanks to Arko Datto.
I recently completed an extended shoot in central China and northeastern India for Fair Trade USA, focusing on organic tea farmers and how fair trade affects their communities. With an emphasis on helping benefit agricultural producers, the fair trade social movement promotes better working conditions and sustainability. It was wonderful to see up-close how extra premiums paid by consumers translated into educational, medical and professional support for the farming groups I documented in Jiangxi and Assam.
My Buzkashi feature was published in Le Figaro Magazine in the April 12, 2013, issue. Much thanks to photo editor Cyril Drouhet for the wonderful layout. For French readers, a web version of the article and a (poorly executed) slideshow can be viewed at the Le Figaro website, here.
One of Asia’s leading geographic magazines — Rhythms Monthly — is publishing my feature this week, a sweeping look at Central Asia and the legacy of Soviet borders, as part of their global look at borders that have divided nations and peoples. Photos and text (in Chinese), spanning a whopping 40 pages, by yours truly. Web versions available here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Proud to announce that I’ve published my book on buzkashi, Central Asia’s oldest and fiercest sport. “Centaurs of the Steppe” is a study of this quintessentially Central Asian sport, a sort of horse polo played with a goat carcass — with few rules and no teams, the sport and the atmosphere that surrounds matches is visually arresting. The book also includes a 1300 word essay I wrote on the culture and patronage of this fascinating sport. A selection of photos from this series won a gold award in the 2011 Prix de la Photographie (PX3) and 2nd place in the 2011 International Photography Awards.
The book is available as print on-demand through Magcloud here. I’m touched by the range of surprising locations book orders have come from – Georgia, Japan, the UK and Canada, among others.
Kat Cizek with the National Film Board of Canada was recently interviewed by Geoffrey Hiller on Verve Photo about ’Out My Window,’ an ambitious multi-media project on global highrise urbanization that she directed. The project employs 360 degree interactive panoramas, extensive soundscapes and interviews and wonderful usage of photography to tell the stories of various voices of our increasingly highrise-based world. Based on the segment I contributed to the project, Cizek had some humbling words about our experience working together:
There’s also Ted Kaye, who is Canadian, Tajik, Taiwanese. He was remarkable: he pitched us three or four stories that were amazing. The one we ended up working with was about his grandmother, a 91-year-old woman who tends to the ashes of her ancestors in a high-rise crematorium. [When we received it], it was fully paper edited, translated … subtitles marked in exactly where they are supposed to go; he had in-depth knowledge of how to tell a story from beginning to end. [He represents a] new kind of visual journalist, who understands editing, story, how language works on the screen. It was phenomenal.
If you’re interested in checking out my ‘window’ on vertical graveyards, an offshoot of Taiwanese culture and overpopulation, check out the Out My Window web-documentary here. Also, I was previously featured by Geoffrey Hiller on Verve Photo for my work on Theyyam Dancers in Kerala, southern India.
For any of you rethinking my ancestry — for the record, I am American-Taiwanese, but I do have relatives in Canada and friends I count almost as family in Tajikistan.