Kapital | "Peace Pilgrim" Autumn - Winter 2014
Despite the fact that my cameras and gear were now full of sand I could not help but smile… This was really Mongolia!
Peace Pilgrim is a journey that takes place in Mongolia. The Kapital collection and the location culminate into an extraordinary story. The new collection contains some interesting "rain tweed", blanket liner jackets, recycled wool-felt accents, ethnic patterns, and as always amazing denim. Expect to see a plethora of new scarves and outer-wear, and some interesting new uses of Century Denim. The colors feel genuine and natural, and the beauty of Asia is what gels this collection together.
The pilgrimage migrates across desserts and plains, through dust devils and torrential rain. All the while, birds of prey fly over-head. Eric Kvatek gives a first-hand narration of the Mongolian experience.
I have always fantasized about shooting in Mongolia but it always seemed so remote, so otherworldly that I never really expected it to happen. But when Kiro told me that his inspiration for the current collection was the historic Silk Road there was only one place to shoot and that was Mongolia. Kiro and I agreed that the shoot should really be about Asian beauty and power and the historical significance of the region.
During my time in Mongolia I was witnessing all the glories of Spring. All around there were horses, camels and goats giving birth. I saw streams form overnight as giant rain clouds moved through. Barren areas that I scouted suddenly were green by the time we were shooting. I cast herders and cowboys to be models but two days later they were gone along with their families, their homes and their goats and horses. Fortunately new people moved through and they were happy to get involved.
To get to our location we had a five hour drive in old Russian four wheel drive vans. Part of the drive was on a paved highway. However, the pavement would abruptly end and we would spend 30 minutes on impromptu dirt roads. We arrived at the location by noon and prepared for shooting. When I started shooting it was sunny with clear blue skies. By the time I finished the first model the sky was getting darker and a strange sensation was in the air. I looked towards the mountain to see a massive sand storm headed towards us. The wind picked up, I looked behind me to see a swirling dust devil, something like a small tornado. I suppose some photographers would have sought shelter but with the cooperation of the tough Mongolian models we just kept shooting. Then a lightning storm rolled in and it started hailing. Finally, I told the models they could run for the trucks and the gers and we sat out the hail storm. Despite the fact that my cameras and gear were now full of sand I could not help but smile… This was really Mongolia! Over the course of the next three days there were no storms, but the mid day temperature was over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The entire crew was really challenged to keep working, especially the models as they had to wear layers of Kapital denim and wool. By ten o'clock the sun would set and finally we were all able to relax in a ger, eat mutton and drink local Mongolian beer together. Despite some language barriers we all managed to have some laughs and no one was eager to actually sleep despite the fact that the whole process would start over at 5am. I never worry about sleeping on a shoot as I would rather savor the location!
Something that was really special on the shoot were the amazingly close proximity of eagles, hawks and vultures. To see these giant birds of prey in flight and then have them perched on your arm is just breathtaking. One of the times shooting with the eagle a local hawk decided to pick a fight with the eagle and fortunately I caught it with my camera!