Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13
Mongolian in traditional garb sits with large falcon on perch in desert.

Nomad, Fascinating Photography of the Eternal Travelers


Photographer Jeroen Toirkens takes us on a voyage to know the lives of the nomads of the North Hemisphere.

The term “nomad” is today a common metaphor that describes wandering adrift.  However, in fact, the movement of traditional nomads is far from random: is both predetermined and systematic. Most of them live in marginal areas like deserts, steppe and tundra, where mobility becomes an issue of logical and efficient strategy, that enables them to make the most of the scarce resources that lay unevenly spread over large territories. Perhaps we are coming close to the days when the nomads that still walk the world are the last generations. The photographer Jeroen Toirkens created a fascinating visual book of the last years of Northern Hemisphere’s nomads, from Greenland to Turkey.

Mongolian girl holds the reins of two reindeer in the snow.

Nomad was ten years in the making. It bears 150 black and white photographs that reveal what feels like a an alternative reality, sometimes severe, sometimes absolutely poetic. Through this book, nomadic cultures, appear like a type of island in the ocean of “other cultures.” Something so foreign to the new world order, full of cities and the scars of civilization that it seems impossible.

In the prologue, Jelle Brandt Corstius explains:

Since the beginning of time, nomadic people have roamed the earth. Looking for food, feeding their cattle. Looking for an existence, freedom. Living in the wild, mountains, deserts, on tundra and ice. With only a thin layer of tent between them and nature. Earth in the 21st century is a crowded place, roads and cities are everywhere. Yet somehow, these people hold on to traditions that go back to the very beginning of human civilization.

In its entirety, the book is a beautiful example of changing perspectives. It incites us to direct our attention and imagination to part of the world (our world) that works under other laws and is in constant movement. It is a different way of thinking of the human condition and its relation to nature.

Man throws lasso at running herd of reindeer.Two Mongolian girls in field

Images: Jeroen Toirkens ©

Related Articles