Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country with 5 million people living on a territory the size of California, has grown more and more remote from the rest of the world since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The oppressive regime rarely permits journalists to enter, but photographer Pavel Prokopchik had an opportunity to travel there recently and used his journey to document everyday life.
A bride covers her face with brightly colored fabric before her wedding in Turkmenistan; the veil will be removed by her new husband. Female relatives join in the preparations. The country’s deeply hospitable people invited Pavel Prokopchik into their homes, even though most were apprehensive about being photographed. Reporters Without Borders ranks the former Soviet republic just above North Korea on its Press Freedom Index.Pavel Prokopchik