The old British hill station village of Kalaw is easily one of my favorite places in Myanmar. While seen as most as just the place to start the very popular Kalaw-to-Inle trek, it's so much more than that.
The cool mountain air, mixed with the beautiful pine forests and a relatively mellow vibe make for a great stop on your Myanmar adventure. The biggest mistake people make in coming here is that most only stay for a single night.
I spent even more time sharing on Instagram in 2016 than in years past, with images coming from Myanmar, Iran, Canada, USA, and Thailand. As we step into 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to look back and see the cream of the crop (at least decided by good, old-fashioned "likes") that rose to the top.
For the second year in a row, the top pics of the year all came from two unique destinations: Iran and Myanmar (Burma). My Myanmar project "This Myanmar Life" has been going on for ~5 years now and had its first exhibition earlier this year. The book is due out in Q3 of 2017.
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Every year around this time, I spend some time reflecting on the year gone by.
What really happened in the past 12 months? What went really well, and what could have been better? What did I accomplish, and what did I learn? At first glance, it may seem simple, but I spend hours and hours going through it all to really develop the picture.
Five years in the making. One year of planning. 13 days of stories and adventures on one remarkable journey.
I call it Myanmar Magic... these opportunities that just happen to come your way if you don't try too hard and you're open to them. For years, this has been the Myanmar that I've known while working on "This Myanmar Life."
It was for this reason that I decided to create the Un-Tour to Myanmar: to share this culture, these stories, and the people who I have met along the way.
Below is a small selection of what we experienced together, and a few snippets I published along the way.
After 5 years of photographing and working on the documentary project "This Myanmar Life" I'm so happy to invite you to the second ever "Un-Tour to Myanmar" in January 2017.
Join us as we explore the culture at a deeper level, exploring beautiful and ancient sites, and catching fantastic photography opportunities with professional photographer and Myanmar expert Dustin Main.
For years, I've tried to find the best ways to share my images and tell their stories. These include fine art galleries, sophisticated websites, presentations and every other way you can think of. Now, I've found an unlikely place in Instagram.
For years, I've been photographing all around the world. But in all that time, there hasn't been a place that has grabbed me in the way that Myanmar (Burma) has.
After years of research and experience on the ground in Myanmar, it's finally time. I've spent months planning and preparing with my team to create a trip you won't soon forget, and I'm very excited to invite you to join us.
This is an extraordinary time to visit Myanmar. So if you've ever thought about a journey to Myanmar... I'm telling you that now is the time.
On Thursday June 16th at 7:00pm, I'll be presenting an artist talk entitled "Behind the Stories of 'This Myanmar Life'" at The Gallery @ Frances Morrison in Saskatoon, Canada.
"Hear and see the stories behind the stories of the exhibition, "This Myanmar Life," as photographer Dustin Main talks about secret police, lost passports, and disappearing friends during his five year documentary project."
Nearly five years ago, I took my first trip to Myanmar (Burma). Before I stepped across that border that very first time, there would have been no way for me to know that I would be traveling back more than a dozen times through the beginning of 2016, and spending more than a year in the country documenting the changes in Myanmar through the stories of the citizens.
Today marks the opening of my debut photography exhibition which melds stories with images called "This Myanmar Life" in Saskatoon, Sk Canada. It's a unique project that flows into the online world with additional stories to follow, as well as more information about the project.
Transportation is a funny thing in Myanmar (Burma). Slow, loud and dirty are adjectives you could use to describe most of them, and safety is pretty questionable as well. But the sheer variety available makes for a fascinating combination of new and old methods you should check out for yourself during your next visit to the country.