Myanmar, or as many people know it, Burma, is one of the few places on earth where the lifestyle hasn’t changed much over the last century. It is a place that is momentarily paused in time, located between its past and its yet to be determined future. A visit to Myanmar draws you into a mesmerizing aggregation of history, stories, images and memories of yesteryear.
Buddhism, the “glue” that binds the nation is evident everywhere, from the golden stupas of the pagodas glistening in the sunlight to the reverned demeanor of the monks in their red robes, quietly moving through the streets each morning with their begging bowls. Mindfulness, respect and caring, the fundamentals of Buddhism, permeates everything and its presence is felt even in the busiest of market places, making Myanmar one of the safest places on earth, to visit.
It is a land of golden light that lends itself to magical photography. Few countries retain so much traditional culture. Hundreds of pagodas testify to the former greatness of the ancient capital Bagan, with its timeless haunting beauty. There are endless opportunities for the photographer, from the splendid shrines, to the monasteries and the monks and the thousand-year old temples. Float in a hot air balloon over these temples at dawn and it is like looking down on a giant ethereal tapestry or painting.
Yangon is a bustling commercial centre, yet the layers of its past are still evident, in the ancient waterfront where fishermen return with their daily catch, in the religious structures like the 2,000-year-old Sulo Pagoda, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a 98-metre-high stupa whose golden glow can be seen from anywhere throughout the city and the British colonial architecture.
Mandalay, one of the larger cities in Myanmar is especially rich in street photography and all variety of monastic activity. Of special interest are the bamboo traders, their unique “raft houses”, and unchanged way of life that stretches back in time for a century and more.
The 120 square kilometer Inle Lake, with its floating gardens, its inimitable fishermen, their style of dress and their conical fishing nets are a photographer’s paradise. Rowing with one leg to leave hands free, these graceful fishermen appeal to every photographer’s desire to capture a land untouched by modernity. Everywhere you turn, a mesmerizing scene awaits your lens. Whether it be from bungalows on stilts in the water or in a long boat slowly weaving through the floating gardens, photographic magic happens. You cannot but come away with countless, memorable moments captured with your camera.