Yu Yamauchi’s photobook “Planet” is entirely shot in Mongolia and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China, recording the different ways of life of the Mongolian people.
When Yamauchi visited Mongolia for the first time in 2014, a local told him that “Mongolia still has a primitive way of life”, leading him to start a five-year journey through the country. As he traveled for tens of thousands of kilometers, his sense of place and time slowly faded, and the focus of his journey shifted from Mongolia to planet Earth itself.
Beginning with abstract images of minerals and nightly shots of stars in the sky hidden behind moon-light scenery (and printed in black on black paper) before introducing us primitive but decidedly harmonious, even paradisiac ways of life of Mongolia’s nomadic tribes – opening with a young child riding a reindeer in luscious, pink-colored fields – and eventually progressing towards the more advanced, technological life in the cities, Yu Yamauchi’s book seemingly traces humanity’s progress on planet Earth. Yet Yamauchi’s “Planet” takes great care to remind us that the scenes we are shown take places concurrently, side-by-side, on the same planet, and even in the same country. The planet contains multitudes of worlds, separated only by experiences and differences in perspective.
“All worlds exist in parallel, in different states of ‘now’. Countless worlds exist side by side, here and now, from the planets in the universe to every place on earth, every family, every individual, and everything inside their hearts. Time – the past and the future – are mere events. They exist in succession, without hierarchy, as points in an ongoing ‘now.’” — from Yu Yamauchi’s statement