The two main rivers of Central Asia, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, originate in the mountains near China’s western border and run into the Aral Sea – or they used to, before the Soviets diverted them to irrigate cotton fields. The Greeks knew the two rivers as the Oxus and the Jaxartes. An islamic hadith holds that they are two of the four rivers that flow into Paradise.
“Two Rivers” is Carolyn Drake’s photographic record of many visits to this region over five years. Drake’s Central Asia is a place where political allegiances, ethnic bonds, national borders, and even physical geography are in such flux as to seem, at times, like fictions. Following the two rivers, she traces a vast ecosystem of stories, nature, money, and history.
"By the mere act of holding the book in your hands, you begin to pick up on Drake’s messages about borders, confinement, overflow and even, from the feel of the cover’s cloth, the suspicion of something dry and abrasive. (...) This frenetic sequencing, combined with bleed-to-bleed images, is an outpouring of the depth and chaos of the region, something that elicits studied attention and repeated viewing." GUP Magazine