While travelling through the high plateau of the Tibetan part of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, Swiss photographers Stephanie Borcard and Nicolas Metraux wanted to portray the Tibetans they encountered in a unique way. Tagong, a small town at an altitude of 3,700 metres in the vast, pristine grasslands of southwestern Sichuan, proved to be an ideal backdrop. Like a town in a Wild West movie, its dusty central road is flanked by stores, pool halls and restaurants. Its people, moreover, with their large Stetson-like hats, whips and boots, resemble no one so much as the cowboys and Indians of North American history. Hitchhiking through the region, on the back of pick-ups, police jeeps and vegetable trucks, the intrepid photographers passed through Manigango, Aba and Litang until, in Serxu, at the northernmost tip of Sichuan province, they finally found their Billy the Kid, proudly showing off his AK-47, a weapon used to start horse races rather than in anger. Every summer, as in other counties on the plateau, Tibetans meet in Serxu to celebrate a horse-racing festival, an event that sees boys aged between 10 and 15 gallop bareback for 15km across a grassy plain. Back in Tagong, the couple met a German anthropologist who told them about a possible connection between Tibetans and native Americans. The pair also discovered that a number of historians and linguists had compared Sino-Tibetan languages and religions with those of native Americans. American historian Ethel Stewart wrote a controversial book - The Dene and Na-Dene Indian Migration 1233 AD: Escape from Genghis Khan to America - in which she suggests that the languages and religions of the Na-Dene, one of the largest native American families, arrived in the New World after the destruction of their kingdom (Xi-Xia) by Genghis Khan in 1227. The Tibetan and native American love of turquoise jewellery also seems to connect the two cultures. In an article titled "From the Roof of the World to the Land of Enchantment: The Tibet-Pueblo Connection", Antonio Lopez writes, "In the incongruous atmosphere of the Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, an extraordinary encounter took place in 1979. "During the Dalai Lama's first visit to North America, he met with three Hopi elders. The spiritual leaders agreed to speak only in their native tongues. Through Hopi elder and interpreter Thomas Benyakya, delegation head Grandfather David's first words to the Dalai Lama were: 'Welcome home.' "The Dalai Lama laughed, noting the striking resemblance of the turquoise around Grandfather David's neck to that of his homeland. He replied: "And where did you get your turquoise?" The series of photographs is not intended to be serious, it merely seeks to offer a different way of looking at a very media-exposed region. It is an invitation to pick a horse and ride, to discover remote corners of the Tibetan Plateau.