Have you ever felt like someone else was telling your story? That’s how Uzbek photographer Hassan Kurbanbaev felt for most of his life. In an attempt to take control of how his identity was perceived by others, Kurbanbaev decided to unravel his own feelings about his home country. The result is a series of poetic images that document the authenticity of local life in his home country.
“I need to show Uzebkistan to the world”, he says discussing how painting a more genuine (and refreshing) vision of Uzbekistan allows him to reclaim ownership of his own narrative.
Kurbanbaev starting shooting “by accident”, as he puts it. After years of moving from job to job, photography was where he was able to find solace. “It made me feel good and less alone”, he says.
During a time when Kurbanbaev felt like there wasn’t room for him in the world, photography quickly became a vessel for his own self-exploration—a space in which he found refuge. “With photography, you can stay in a physical world but at the same time create your own version of the world, and stay there”, he continues.
Describing his work as a portal of self-discovery, Kurbanbaev is proud to show a side of Uzbekistan rarely seen before with a gentle sensibility. “Through photography, I learn about me and the world. I am finally able to find answers to my questions”.