Lucy Kelaart spent much of 1999 riding across Central Asia and into China by horse and camel. Her latest endeavor is a glossy magazine called Steppe, edited with Summer Coish, fellow veteran of the region. Although perhaps aimed more at the armchair traveler than those willing to tour the Silk Road themselves, the publication matches Kelaart's trip for expansiveness, romance, and ambition.
Steppe is an arresting tribute to the arts and culture of Central Asia, strewn with vivid full-color photos and rarely interrupted by more than a page of text or advertising. At $18 per issue, the biannual journal is equal parts coffee-table book, museum catalog, and in-flight magazine.
But its modern design, high-quality production, and sumptuous photography indicate that this is no throwaway from an airplane seat-back. Rather, Steppe is one of the more urbane components of Central Asia's belated introduction to the world, a counterpoint to both Borat's fictional Kazakhstan and the very real fight for the region's energy resources.
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Daniel Sershen is a freelance journalist based in Bishkek. To find out more about Steppe, visit: www.steppemagazine.com