Catherine Hyland: Rise of the Mongolians

Catherine Hyland’s body of work titled Rise of the Mongolians introduces us to the child Sumo wrestlers of the beautiful mountainous country. It receives a Best in Book award in CR’s Photography Annual 2018

Catherine Hyland’s photography centres around people and their connection to the land they inhabit. After originally studying fine art and falling into photo editing for magazines including New Statesman and Wallpaper*, Hyland went on to assist various other photographers while shooting her own stuff on the side. She made the switch to working full-time on her own projects two years ago. Since then, she has documented landscapes including the vast mountainous regions of China, which earned her a Best in Book award in CR’s 2017 Photography Annual; Nevis in the Caribbean, which is trying to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island; and one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, Mongolia.

Her latest self-led project has been commissioned by WeTransfer, and saw her return to Mongolia after being intrigued by the sense of a nation in a state of flux on her first visit. Despite being so sparsely populated, the capital city Ulaanbaatar is home to a staggering 46% of the 3 million-strong population. While a third of Mongolians still practice a nomadic way of life, many have been forced to migrate to the capital to survive the harsh winters that have devastated the livestock they once tended to survive. This in turn has led to a whole host of other problems, with Ulaanbaatar regularly seeing some of the worst spikes in air pollution in the world.