Photography by Guillem Sartorio Teixidó | Captions by David Meseguer
We hike for pleasure. We hike for fun. Some of us even hike just to get nice pictures to post on Instagram. Yet in many parts of the world people hike for different reasons, for darker reasons that are a million miles from fun.
The photographer Guillem Sartorio Teixidó met one such group of people in the mountains between Iraq and Iran. A group of Iranian Kurdish smugglers, who risk their lives running supplies of illicit alcohol from Iraq (where it’s still sold openly in the country’s Kurdish north, in defiance of a central government ban) into Iran.
“They’re constantly exposed to danger, whether it’s gunfire from the Iranian border patrols, landmines or wolves.”
They’re incredibly tough hikers who climb 3,000 metre-high mountains without any professional gear. In fact, as you’ll notice from the pictures below, they use regular clothes, sneakers and makeshift backpacks. Still, they cross the mountains three or four times a month, carrying very heavy packs of alcohol, always at night, to avoid the Iranian patrols.
“They remind me more of hikers and climbers from older times,” Guillem told us. “Taking on epic journeys across extreme environments purely for economic survival.”
Having got their permission to take photos, he was careful to obscure their faces in the shots, in order to conceal their identities.