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.
While I'm most known for my travel, landscape, and cultural photography, one of my real passions is creating more abstract images with my camera. I'm looking to create moods, often by "smearing" or "melting" colors. I've been attracted by the more abstract in art and imagery for quite some time, and most of the paintings and artwork I've collected around the world for myself fit the same sort of mold.
Amongst a group of hundreds walking down the dusty street in Nyaung U (Bagan), you'd think the group of kids dressed as zombies and performing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" would be the focus of this piece.
Sorry, not strange enough.
There are a lot of ways to pay the bills in this world. Some just choose more dramatic ways than others.
Take this man for instance. He's set up shop working the street in the center of Siem Reap is his own way, and he's about to put on a show.
He pulls his trailer down the street, and double-parks his trailer in front of a motorcycle and a minivan with his torturous tools of the trade an arms-length away. The trailer has the worst sounding horn loudspeaker you've ever let pierce your eardrums, and a
Clowns, brides, a pregnant women, an 80's rocker, even a chain gang. As it turns out, no one was immune. Hundreds of them shuffling down the street, reaching out at passengers in cars and moaning or growling at any humans they met in their path.
And I was at ground zero: Post-apocalyptic downtown Saskatoon.
Packed like sardines in a sold out club that has mediocre sound. It's hot... like sauna hot. The rain? It's coming from inside this low ceiling-ed building and is provided by the perspiration of the crowd. I'd dance like there was no one watching, but there's no room to move anyways. We all just sort of shuffle in place.
But the music is good, and that's about all you can ask for.
While most so-called "street art" is barely a hair more special than comic-sans is to the font world, on occasion you do stumble upon something special.
I carry around more than my fair share of camera gear, but sometimes a quick shot with my mobile phone is just what the doctor ordered.
As England is to pubs, Myanmar (Burma) is to tea shops. You'll find them everywhere, sometimes lined up one after another, with their little plastic stools and small tables spilling out onto the sidewalks and into the streets.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorites, Shwe Ya Minn tea shop. Located on the market block of the small "hill station" town of Kalaw (Shan State), it might be tough to spot without a readily visible English sign. Instead, you'll have to look for the crowds.
Although open all day, often from 6am until 10pm, the busiest times are early in the morning for...
*A warning to my more squeamish visitors, this story includes graphic images*
The drums: pounding. The crowd: dense. The colors: vibrant.
In a word,
It was after 5:00pm, and I had spent the day on nearby Bilugyun (Ogre) Island in the heat of Myanmar (Burma) summer. I was exhausted. So exhausted in fact, that when I caught a glimpse of a line of 150-odd monks walking toward us on the other side of the road my first instinct was to just move on.
Then, something I'd never seen before.A row of people walking on the other side of the road. Brightly colored garland draped over-top of an apparatus some were
Sometimes you end up somewhere you never expected.
I planned on traveling to Andorra to hike. Instead, I found myself at a skate pack in the center of Andorra La Vella, watching kids do tricks on a half-pipe... on scooters.
I realized quickly that any and all adventures in Burma are best left unplanned. It was a recurring theme during my entire time there in March / April 2012.
random mid morning stroll down Strand Road and towards a bit of commotion near the Pansodan ferry terminal along the Yangon river. Minutes later, I was on a ferry heading across the river, with a young guide named Joga (rhymes with yoga).
bike with a 20-odd chickens attached. Hmm...
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