Highest of Heights: Photographing Uzbekistan’s Mountains

The United Nations Information Office (UNO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uzbekistan, have organised the ‘Highest of Heights’ mountain photo exhibition at the UN Country Office in Uzbekistan, to be held on Friday the 16th of December in recognition of International Mountain Day (December 11th). This event is part of an on-going series of fortnightly UN Friday events.
Established during the International Year of Mountains (2002), International Mountain Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of mountains and their forests, and the role they play in ‘Green Economies’ and climate change adaption measures around the world. In order to achieve this goal, the ‘Highest of Heights’ photo exhibition will celebrate Uzbekistan’s majestic mountains through the works of renowned Uzbek photographers Petr Stalbovskiy and Anvar Hodjaniyazov. Both artists share a passion for Uzbekistan’s mountains, and recognise the need to preserve them for environmental, economic, social and cultural reasons.
Petr Stalbovskiy
By displaying his works in the ‘Highest of Heights’ exhibition, Mr. Stalbovskiy intends to achieve two goals. Firstly he wishes to portray mountains and their environments as ecologically important, and therefore as landscapes that must be maintained and protected, and secondly he wishes to remind the exhibition’s visitors that while they live a long way from the mountains they still share the same natural environment.
“For the visitors who attend the event, especially the photography students, I’d like to explain that while they study and work they may lose the perception of the atmosphere and the place where they live,” he said. “I’d like people to understand the concept that they live in a natural atmosphere.”
Mr. Stalbovskiy considers mountains to be landscape features that have always fascinated people, and allowed them to reconnect with nature. He describes mountains as having unique seasons which are more distinct than those experienced in the city. By showing his works in the ‘Highest of Heights’ exhibition, Mr. Stalbovskiy is confident that he will express his passion for the mountains while explaining why they should be protected.
Petr Stalbovskiy has enjoyed a successful career in photography. He has conducted personal exhibitions at the Museum of Cinema in December 2005, at the Tashkent House of
Photography in April 2006, during International Mountain Day 2010, and during the Day of Ecology in June 2008. He has also participated in the UNDP project ‘The Environment and Human Progress’.
Anvar Hodjaniyazov
Anvar Hodjaniyazov is a photographer who has always appreciated Uzbekistan’s mountains. Mr. Hodjaniyazov has described how his love of photographing mountains began in his childhood.
“When my family and I were out hiking, everyone kept taking photographs of themselves. However, I wanted to take photographs of the scenery,” Mr. Hodjaniyazov said. “I decided then and there that I wanted to become a mountain photographer, because I believed that their beauty could not be described in words. Rather, it could only be captured in photographs.”
Mr. Hodjaniyazov explained his interest in taking part in the ‘Highest of Heights’ exhibition, by emphasising that humans are only a small part of this world. He hopes the exhibition will encourage visitors to reflect on the importance of mountains. “I believe that only human beings are better than mountains,” he said. “They therefore have a responsibility to preserve them.”
Mr. Hodjaniyazov’s photographs have been displayed in a number of exhibitions and competitions, including ‘Uzbekistan – the Declaration of Love’ of 2003, ‘Windows’ and ‘Ecology and Stable Progress’ of 2006, ‘The Life of Youth in Uzbekistan’ of 2007, and ‘The Image of the Modern Women of Uzbekistan’ of 2008. His works have been printed in publications including the ‘Ecological Bulletin’ magazine, and the UN/UNDP publications entitled ‘The Environment and Stable Progress’.

The Importance of Preserving Mountains
The purpose of International Mountain Day is to recognise the environmental, social and economic importance of mountains and their forests.
•Mountains and their forests are vital sources of fresh water, necessary for drinking, cooking, washing, irrigation, hydropower, industry and transportation.
•Mountains and their forests protect people against natural disaster, specifically from landslides, avalanches and floods.
•In order to fulfil these functions, mountains and their forests, along their vegetation and wildlife, must be preserved.  {jcomments on}