Arif's Journeys » Travel and Photography Blog of Arif Iqball

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Myanmar Faces

Some portraits from my daily walks in Yangon. Wherever I visited, I was always met with a smile and made to feel very welcome. My days in Myanmar were full of interactions with the novice nuns and novice monks. Never did I feel any negative response to my requests for photographs. My appreciation and respect for them grew with every interaction and I felt I met many people I would have liked to be friends with. In Bhutan I had started to notice some frustration by monks who must have felt like animals in a zoo with tourists coming and taking a picture without any attempt to build a relationship. For me, many times I try to first build and then photograph that relationship. Sometimes it just starts with an effort to learn the other person’s name.

I found people to be great with smiles covering any scars of any depressive regime. Younger couples held hands and dressed alike on Valentine’s Day. There was always a strong sense of modesty and dignity and no matter where I went I never felt unsafe. The only terrifying thing in the evenings were the mosquitoes but I was well prepared. George Orwell in “Burmese Days” mentions casually “At night, Master too drunk to notice mosquitoes; at day, mosquitoes too drunk to notice Master” 😉

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February 2, 2012 - 8:38 pm

Nicolas Prieur - Some wonderful Black and Whites. I was there at the same time as you ( as mentioned in your Mccurry post) and had a great time. It was my first real photographing expedition ( at 16) and It was amazing. I felt a real connection with the people. I think it is the fact that they always smile.