This is a completely un-staged picture of a Han family living in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. At first I went to the more touristy staged mock villages and met a very well spoken ‘professor’ on the train. I mistakenly let slip that I was a photographer and before long I had a vehicle and a chauffeur to drive me 700 km to one of the most remote towns in Inner Mongolia known as Xilinhot. On the journey she began being overly inquisitive as to my purpose here, asking who I worked for, whether I wrote about human rights and then ‘suggested’ that I should go to a settlement allegedly run by the university. It became fairly obvious that I was being escorted by someone from the communist party to interpret my experience for me.
To cut a long story short I basically had to do a runner in Xilinhot and found my own taxi driver – speaking no mandarin – who drove me another 200 km to a single farm house in the grasslands. After 4 days, I became very friendly with the family despite the language barrier. This was a shot I took on the last day when they had gotten used to my camera. I like it because of its randomness and that it reflects the normality of family life where ever. It is also very different to the standard ‘Mongolia’ clichéd images we’re used to seeing. I had a great shoot but it emphasised my naivety in revealing one’s profession in countries like China. Published in various travel magazines.
Previously a reporter for BBC Radio 4, Tom is a self-taught photographer having first picked up an SLR camera five years ago and soon after began working on local London newspapers.
During the last three years Tom has worked mostly in Asia, specialising in Photojournalism and travel, covering the tsunami for the Independent/Sunday in Sri Lanka. Since then, Tom has worked for TIME, The Times, Marie Claire, CNN Traveller, Living etc and is a regular contributor to the in-flight magazines of Sri Lankan, Emirates and Etihad. He has undertaken commissions for Redux Pictures, Action Aid and Save the Children and contributes to Rex Features, Reportdigital and The Wideangle.
Tom’s photographic work has taken him to 27 different countries around the world. He specialises in photojournalism and travel but also shoots corporate, interiors and PR.
His long term project is industrial and modern India.
Photographer since 2003, EPUK member since 2004.
See more work by Tom Parker