Tetsuro Shimizu

Born in 1975 in Yokohama, Japan. Became an independent, freelance photographer at the age of 23. Famous for his extraordinary images of Mongolia – his life's passion – which span the gamut from natural scenery to snapshots and documentary shots. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions and his publications include CHANGE and New Type as well as the photo-essay Umatabi (Journey on a Horse): Two Decades of Photographing Mongolia. Member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society.

During my last three-week trip to Mongolia, I spent two of those weeks on a survival tour, riding a horse through the taiga forests 1000 kilometers to the north and west of Ulan Bator. For 200 kilometers we rode through the rugged wilderness, camping at various locations, traversing rivers, marshes, and scree-covered slopes, all the while beset by clouds of gadflies, flies and mosquitos. Occasionally, we were fortunate to encounter the nomadic people who roam these backwoods.

Things got tense when we were crossing the steepest mountain on the tour. One of our pack horses slipped and tumbled down the scree, rolling down the slope for about 30 meters with its legs flailing desperately as it tried to stop its fall. Fortunately, the horse was not seriously hurt – perhaps it was cushioned by the baggage on its back – and suffered only abrasions and a few broken teeth. Luckily, no one was riding the horse. And luckily for me, all my photographic equipment was packed in the CBG-12 camera backpack that I was carrying on my shoulder.

My target was the brown bears. I wanted to see the absolute monarch of the forest with my own eyes. I knew it would not be easy, so I asked for some advice from some nomads, hoping they could tell me where the bears were most likely to be living. On the last day, in the early morning fog, the trees still dripping from the rain that had fallen most of the night, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a bear pursuing a moose beyond the trees. Though I had no chance to capture a publishable image, the encounter still brought me great joy.

During this tour of the taiga, I shot landscapes, as well as wildlife and portraits of reindeer herding nomads. And, despite the frequent bad weather, I had no problems at all with my camera equipment thanks to the reliable dustproof and splashproof performance, enabling me to shoot the pictures shown at my personal exhibition entitled Anchin held in 2017 at the Olympus Galleries in Tokyo and Osaka.

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