The second-largest lake in Kyrgyzstan, Song-Kul often loses out to the larger Issyk-Kul when it comes to visitors. Its relative solitude, however, was exactly what drew London-based Italian photographer Sara Taglioretti to travel here in September 2019 on her first trip to Central Asia.
“My friend and I decided we needed real time away: no internet, just nature. Song-Kul was, for me, the most beautiful spot we saw,” the photographer explains, reflecting on why she chose Song-Kul as a focus of her visit. “The lake is crystal clear and the air is so clean, and you can truly get a taste of nomad life there. Song Kul is where the shepherds spend the summertime with their animals; during winter the lake is icy and the landscape is covered with snow,” Taglioretti says.
As a photographer, Taglioretti was drawn to the challenge of capturing the “immensity”, as she describes it, of the landscape. Shooting in this environment, however captivating, brought its own challenges: “There is no horizon; it was a fascinating exercise, but taking pictures in this ‘vastness’ was very difficult.” Already planning another visit, the photographer wants to change focus in her next Song-Kul series: “I would have loved the chance to photograph more people. We went when many local people were going back to the cities; summer was almost over and it was starting to get very cold.”
Taglioretti is quick to recommend Song-Kul as a destination for travellers looking to discover the “unknown beauty” of Kyrgyzstan and experience elements of nomad life such as sleeping in a yurt, but cautions that the lake is only accessible between June and September.
Tours to Song-Kul are available with Viator.