The first of these strong portraits was selected as a single image finalist in the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016. Here, we present a fuller selection from the body of work. You can discover more inspiring portraits from all the 39 winners, finalists and Jurors’ picks.


This is a series of portraits and general shots of the Tsaatan and Mongolian people who live in and around the forests of the East Taiga region of Khovsgol province in northern Mongolia.

The Tsaatan ethnic minority are one of the last remaining groups of nomadic reindeer herders in Mongolia, and have been maintaining their traditions for thousands of years. They seasonally migrate within the forests of the Taiga according to weather and food conditions. They migrate to better care for their reindeer, which they depend on for milk and transportation.

Today, they are facing challenges to their traditional way of life: recently introduced laws aimed at conservation are limiting their ability to hunt wild animals for food and climate change is gravely affecting their habitat. Also, changing weather seems to be exposing the reindeer to new diseases.

Previously self-supporting, they now are partly dependent on government handouts and tourism which enable them to buy meat and other supplies. Still, millennia-old tradition are under grave threat.

—Madoka Ikegami


Editors’ Note: All the images were made in September 2015.