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[Photos] A Glimpse Into Mongolia's Tough Way of Life

Despite Mongolia’s -15oC winters, an intrepid photographer has waded through thick layers of snowfall and braved local hostility to capture life in the mysterious East Asian nation.

Hong Kong-based shutterbug Paul Cox has been documenting the Mongolian lifestyle since 2014, with an impressive body of work featuring shots from both rural and urban areas of the country. According to CNN, when he first started, Cox had to hide his camera during his strolls along the streets of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital.

“The community is nice once you get to know them, but I realized it can be very dangerous for foreigners,” he told the news outlet. “While roaming local market places, I not only felt the distrust from locals, but on several occasions locals attempted to punch me. This frustration towards me, according to some locals that I spoke to, has as much to do with my camera as it does with me being a foreigner.”

Cox went on to explain that in the mind of locals, the presence of foreigners reminds them of the wealth being taken out of the country. The high unemployment rate among Mongolian urbanites doesn’t help either. Moreover, some are averse to being photographed because of a strong sense of pride. They don’t want their poor state of living to be seen.

His recent trips back to the rugged country were more hospitable, as he was able to partner with a local charity group which helped to facilitate connections with local families and into the private moments of their daily lives.

“While the city can be a hostile place for foreign photographers, the countryside and its beautiful people are some of the warmest, most friendly people I have ever met,” Cox explained. “I put this to the nomadic people, who have a strong identity here, a sense of purpose, and clearly defined gender roles.”

Take a rare glimpse into the lives of Mongolians below:

[Photos via CNN]

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