The time frame of this short film is exactly 3:17 minutes. But it features twenty-three unique images of Uzbekistan set to a mesmeric temperate ambient score titled ‘Emotions’ by Cinematic Sounds. Collectively, these images transcend even the lens that captured them. From the monuments in Tashkent to the mosques in Samarkand, and architectural beauties in Bukhara and the fortress-city of Khiva, UNESCO World Heritage site, they explore the glories that define the Silk Road and Uzbekistan past that has been well preserved into the contemporary. They show moments when tourists express their urge to be identified with these monuments. They show the resplendency of Madrasahs from the Persian period in Samarkand. And many more.

The first two images show a glittering dome with mosaic tiles and a surrounding that amplifies this grandeur. The camera angle only makes it possible as a subject of enthrallment for both the viewer and tourists in the video. Of which, speaking of tourists, the next two images confirm that natural urge to claim histories and monuments with our mere selfies.

The fifth image in this video is an attestation of the Soviet Union annexation of Uzbekistan. That peculiar Russian architecture with its massive columns leaves a trace of this history. Interestingly, the seventh image in the sequence, a square in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city, celebrates the sovereignty of the country. The Uzbek flag is standing symmetrical in the open animated by a gentle wind amidst water fountains, and the ambient score on the video bellows the pride to the viewer.

The eight and ninth frame is most powerful in the display of glory. A dome with what is seeming to be made of panelling of gold and Arabic calligraphy. The close-up view in this shot focuses on the symmetry which if contemplated long enough becomes starry.

Asides these grandeurs and histories, even the political atmosphere of the land cannot be missed in the thirteenth frame. The subtle patrol of uniformed operatives at a tourist attraction gives away the climate of fear that has been the subject of human rights activists, organisations from the country and the international community.

On a final note, it is also worth pointing out that these majestic mosques are not just hollow spaces left to the whim of travellers. There are people inhabiting these spaces; there are people making religious use of these spaces. This seventeenth and eighteenth frame surely evokes piety and peace looking at the two supplicants, a young lady and an old woman, in it in a prayer room as they connect with their God.

Filmed with Nikon D850 and Nikon 16-35mm lens, we hope this video made by Alessio Viviani will open up things beyond what it frames. Happy viewing.

Alessio Viviani is a photographer and airline pilot who started off flying a Boeing 737 mainly in Europe. And after about four years, he decided to try the long-haul experience so that he could visit more and more distant places. He now flies a Boeing 787 mostly from Europe to the United States.