Taskurgan is an unforgiving place. Located at 10,140 feet in the Pamir mountain range on the borders of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, close to Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, this small autonomous Kashgar Prefecture county in Xinjiang, China is cold, the winters are long, and food is hard to come by.
But out of such a place emerges a fascinating culture. The ethnic Tajiks and their simple, tribal way of life are not well known to the outside world, however, something that Chinese photographer XinZhao Li seeks to change.
Located on the historic Silk Road, Tashkurgan is now a market town. People travel there to purchase sheep and wool and woolen products, including carpets, and orchards circle the county's circumference.
The Tajiks in this region speak Sarikoli and have very little access to the luxuries we take for granted. Medical facilities are sparse and electricity and communication networks are erratic.
Li's images unveil the extraordinary resilience of the people who continue to eke out a life in this high desert environment. They are pictured with tools, a small beat up vehicle, donkeys, pets and in intimate settings rarely afforded to outsiders.
Called Through The Unknown Tashkurgan, this remarkable photographic series was captured with a Hasselblad large-format digital camera and Profoto lighting.
Tafline writes about environmental issues. Born in Iran, raised in South Africa and the United States, she currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East.