‘Crossroads of High Asia’ is the title of a book by Janet Rizvi first published in 1983 describing the little known land of Ladakh and referring to its unique position in the cultures, trade routes and religious beliefs of ancient Asia. Perched on the western end of the Tibetan plateau in the great Himalayan range it was an independent kingdom for 900 years up until the 19th century. In modern times Ladakh has come under Indian jurisdiction but border disputes persist with Pakistan and China.
Ethnically and culturally closer to Tibet and a fascinating mix of Buddhism, Islam and ancient belief systems, Ladakh remains enchanting and remote. Its geographical isolation has maintained traditional ways of life much revered by many although the hardships of village life in altitudes up to 4500 meters (15,000ft) with surrounding peaks of nearly 8000 meters (26 000ft) is not to be underestimated. Possessing the highest motorable roads in the world (up to 5 500meters, 18 000ft) much of the region is only accessible by road for a short 3-4 month period in the summer.
SHAUN FYNN www.studiofynn.com (TEXT + PHOTOS)
Shaun Fynn is an acclaimed designer and photographer with a long history of advising and creating for Fortune 500 companies. Since founding STUDIOFYNN in 1997 he has lived and practiced globally including the UK, Italy the US and India working in the areas of design, photo documentary, design research and design education. His work has been exhibited, published and awarded internationally including the New York Museum of Modern Art, The Neues Museum Bremen, The Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, The Guardian (UK), ID magazine, Core 77 and Graphis. He is also a visiting lecturer at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India, the IIT in Mumbai, India, Art Center College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan.