Badain Jaran

Badain Jaran

The Forgotten Desert

A seemingly inaccessible part of the world: the beauty of Badain Jaran desert in Carlos Crespo's striking images.



Title Information

Photographs by Carlos Crespo. Essays by Cathérine Hug and Bill Kouvenhoven

1st edition

, 2013

Text in English and German


156 pages, 102 tritone illustrations

26.5 x 31.5 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-382-4


A vast, empty landscape in the farthest reaches of the Inner Mongolia province of China, Badain Jaran is one of the few environs in the world that has not been obsessively catalogued, photographed, and explored in this age of Google Maps and Lonely Planet travel guides. Except for two German-Chinese research expeditions in 1988 and 1993, the desert has remained mostly unknown to Western travelers.

From 2009 to 2012, artist and photographer Carlos Crespo made several trips to the virtually untouched and almost inaccessible region to document both the starkly beautiful scenery and the lives of the few Mongolian herdsmen who dwell on the fringes of the desert. Crespo recorded Barain Jaran’s numerous sand dunes, some of which reach 1,600 feet tall, and the freshwater and saline lakes that dot the desert. His stunning photographs were all taken while battling the intemperate weather of the region; winter temperatures can get as low as -40˚F and the spring and autumn bring violent sandstorms. The results of Crespo’s labors are devastatingly gorgeous, and Badain Jaran offers readers a rare chance to glimpse a world unmarked by humanity.


Winner of the PX3 2014 Prix de la Photographie Paris.


Designed by Jeffrey Goldstein.

Authors & Editors

Carlos Crespo

 (*1973) studied photography and classical music. He lives and works as a photographic artist in Zürich.

Cathérine Hug

, born 1978, studied Art History, Computer Science and Communication at the University of Zurich. She is a curator at Kunsthaus Zürich since 2013. Before this she worked as a curator at Kunsthalle Wien 2008–13.

Bill Kouwenhoven

 studied Humanities in Baltimore and has published numerous essays for international photo magazines and journals such as Photo Metro and Hotshoe. He lives and works as a critic and publicist in Berlin and New York.