Brendon Kahn

TBLI VII Finalist

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Q: What mode of transportation do you think best reflects your personality? Plane, train, automobile, rickshaw, or something not on this list. Why?
A: Unquestionably, the first thing that comes to mind is traveling by foot. Both my ambition and bold nature are constant driving forces in my life. This plainly couldn’t be emphasized any better than to carry myself by a pair of boots.
Q: Where is your bucket list trip going to take you and what are you hoping to gain/take away from The Bucket List Initiative travel experience? Include a tentative itinerary.
A: Historically traced back to the Silk Road and deeply imbedded with rich Islamic culture, the Pamir Mountains of Eastern Tajikistan lie smack dab in the heart of one of the most remote and organically grandiose places on earth. In my TBLIVII, I hope to explore and learn what these mountains mean to the Pamiri nomads living in the Gorno-Badakhshan province and how imperialistic historical changes throughout the past century have impacted their lives in such an isolating environment. Starting in Dushanbe and using the impressive Pamir Highway as my guide, I will make my way to the Panj river, set off by foot to the Langar Valley’s beautiful mountain lakes, and continuing on to end the trip trekking to the vastly remote, Bardara Village.
Q: What are your creative pursuits and how would you apply them to documenting your experience?
A: My interest in foreign affairs has a significant influence on my creative pursuits, which have led me toward a photojournalistic approach in my practice aiming to create a story behind my work. Not only will I be using digital, traditional 35mm, 120, and instant analog formats, but also different types of film as well when appropriate. The use of black and white, tungsten, infrared, and high ISO films can create a differentiation of character and aesthetic that express a range of emotions. Mixed media is an integral part of my work and will be applied through my writing in addition to photography. Images alone speak volumes, but coupled by my pen and journal, symbiotically, words can convey feelings and nuances otherwise lost.
Q: Why you? Why now? Make your case.
A: For the past decade, I’ve struggled to understand what I can do to make my mark on the world. Finally, after pushing aside paralyzing inner fears, I decided to make peace with myself and go back to school to follow the path I love: photography. Now I am crafting the creative life I always desired. Through myriad inspirations and learning processes, I’m empowered to continue to grow each day as an artist. I believe timing is everything in life and I truly couldn’t think of a more opportune experience than this to bring together everything that defines me as an artist. My deep fascination with art, history, and geopolitics are all perfectly strung into this beautiful opportunity. This presents the chance of a lifetime to showcase my meaningful expression of a place rich both internally and externally, yet unidentifiable by most of the world. My experience will slip into the heart of Tajikistan in an effort to share and show its magnificence to the world.

The Other Finalists