By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie
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Japanese photographer, Madoka Ikegami, visited the East Taiga region of the Khovsgol province last year in order to gain her amazing images of the Tsaatan family.
She said: “The Tsaatan people live in either East or West Taiga, and I only visited East Taiga.
“There were five families at the time of my visit as, unexpectedly, the rest of the community - mostly young ones - had moved to a further remote area just a few days before my arrival.”
The Tsaatan tribe is somewhat dependent on reindeers for transportation purposes and their antlers are used as handcrafting tools. The reindeers also provide the travellers with milk, a fundamental part of their diet.
Madoka was originally motivated to document the tribe when she saw an inspirational picture of a Tsaatan child resting her head on a beautiful white reindeer.
She said: “It was so fascinating to see the peaceful face of this little child, her deep trust in this animal, which is much larger than her. And the reindeer doesn't look to mind her either.
She added: “This picture was an amazing moment of the co-existence between human and reindeer. I just wanted to witness it myself.”
The Tsaatan tribe is said to have co-existed with reindeers for thousands of years and Madoka wanted her photography to emphasise their relationship as well as the incredible scenery that surrounds them.
She said: “One day I can be at a large party scene, photographing bubbly, urban moods, and another day I can just disappear in a mountainous remote area, shooting things I've never seen before.”
The Tsaatans feel the need to migrate in the forests seasonally with the reindeers being vulnerable to the changing weather conditions.
The special family bond between the people and reindeers in this tribe fascinated Madoka to the point where she still questions the reality of what she saw.
She said: “Is this real? Am I dreaming?
“Photography gives me the freedom to travel to different classes and places of society.
“It suits my free-spirited character.”