Traveling to Uzbekistan is a real treat for the senses, especially if you’re a carb lover like me. I mean, bread is practically sacred there! It’s like the holy grail of carbs, found on every table and shared at the drop of a hat. I can just imagine myself sitting down to a meal and being bombarded with warm, delicious bread. And to top it off, it’s considered a symbol of the welcoming and warm-hearted people of Uzbekistan.

Uzbek People

Ah, the Uzbek people! What a delightful bunch they are. It’s like they have a perpetual invitation to their meals, and declining feels like you’re committing a crime against humanity. I mean, we’re talking about so many invitations that we’ve had to master the art of polite refusal, all the while trying not to offend them. It’s like a dance, really. And let’s not forget the tea and bread situation – it’s like a national pastime. We’re just there, sipping tea and nibbling on bread, feeling like we’re in the middle of some elaborate culinary theatre. And don’t even get me started on the photos! It’s like a competition between us and them – who can snap the most shots of these moments? It’s a toss-up, really.

And then there’s the bread-making spectacle. We’re there, watching the dough being kneaded, the loaves sticking to the tandir (oven) walls, and we’re just ready to jump in and join the action. It’s like we’ve been initiated into the secret world of Uzbek bread-making. I tell you, travel really does awaken the senses, especially when you’re knee-deep in bread dough and surrounded by smiling Uzbek faces.

Baker’s Work

Ah, the irresistible aroma of freshly baked bread! It’s enough to make anyone’s stomach growl in anticipation. Bread, a universal staple, varies in appearance and taste across different regions.

Capturing the essence of a baker’s work isn’t just about snapping a few pictures; it’s a delightful adventure filled with unexpected moments and, of course, plenty of bread. To truly understand and document the intricate process, we delved into the heart of the baker’s craft, witnessing each step with wide-eyed curiosity before attempting to capture them on camera.

Uzbek bread in Tandir

Picture this: the bread, freshly baked, emerges from the tandir, releasing billows of steam, and the baker carefully places it in a large, inviting basket. This action, almost rhythmic in its repetition, is a mesmerizing sight. The baker and his assistant move with purpose, organizing the bread for sale, creating a dance of motion and heat in the process.

To encapsulate this mesmerizing ballet of bread-making, it was imperative to wait for that perfect moment of synchronization between the baker and his assistant. The angle and framing of the photograph would be crucial in telling the story within a single image. The baker, framed between the doors, positioned at the intersection of a strong point (hello, rule of thirds!), would emphasize his significance in the image. Meanwhile, the assistant, strategically placed in the foreground, would provide the necessary depth, adding a tangible dimension to the image. It was all about capturing that precise moment of action, and let me tell you, anticipation was key in achieving that perfect shot.

As we worked to capture the essence of the baker’s craft, the lighting played a crucial role in setting the stage. Soft light, filtered through the mulberry leaves, created a captivating ambiance. The baker, as he deftly arranged the bread, was bathed in a warm glow, while the interior of the bakery remained shrouded in darkness. It was a delicate balance, and almost everything fell into place, except for a small, unintended cameo appearance of my hand in the foreground of the final image. Ah, the perils of photography!

Uzbek Break

After our exhilarating photo session, we left with an abundance of bread, generously offered by the baker. Attempting to pay for this gesture would have been met with offense, so we graciously accepted this delicious bounty. In the world of photography, the image is undoubtedly a vital part of the journey, but it’s the emotions, the sense of sharing, and the awakening of all our senses that truly make it a remarkable experience.

So, there you have it, the captivating world of the baker’s craft, filled with moments of anticipation, delightful aromas, and the warmth of freshly baked bread. As we bid adieu to the Ferghana region, we carry with us not just photographs, but a treasure trove of memories and the lingering scent of bread, reminding us of the magical journey we embarked upon.

Until the next adventure, may your bread always be warm and your photography filled with delightful surprises!

Picture Taken during our Uzbekistan Photo Workshop
19 September 2019
Camera: Canon EOS 5D3
Lens: Sigma 24mm f/1.4
Mode: Aperture Priority
ISO: 800
Aperture: f/2.2
Shutter Speed: 1/500sec
Focal Length: 24mm
Editing: Adobe Lightroom