Yangon: the ultimate time machine

You will see glimpses of modern brands and lots of new cars from Japan but the overall feel of the city is like you just landed into Orwell’s Burmese Chronicles. (Orwell spent a few years in Yangon as a police chief.)

Buddhist monks are the most common persons on the street. These are girls (pink robes.)
The male garb is maroon.

Here’s a group of well-off Burmese in the new shopping area. Regardless of age and class, most men wear Longyi.

The average Burmese live in slums with all their belongings in the open view. There are lots of raw areas in Yangon. It’s like being transported 200 years back, to the time of Anglo-Burmese wars.

I photographed the Yangon grit  with a film Leica in black and white. (This is another project.)
Burma (Myanmar) is the easiest country to photograph. People are overwhelmingly friendly. They don’t ask money for it (like they do in some other poor countries.)

And they won’t make a face and demand to delete the picture like the French and Moroccans practice.

Woodcarving is huge in Yangon. The reason is that all these elaborate decorations that you see on the local monasteries (and there is a monastery on every street) are made of wood and painted. As they decay fairly quickly replacements are ordered.

Jade jewelry and Burmese fabrics are also popular.

It seems like kids take care of other kids. All life goes in the open street. Unlike Latin America, the Burmese poverty does not lead to crime and violence. Go figure.

With respect, you can approach anybody with your camera. People show dignity and friendliness.

The Shwedagon pagoda behind the trees and the monasteries around it. The pagoda is gilded, but most of the monastery decorations are carved wood, painted (usually) or plated with gold.

This young man is finalizing a large snake that needs to be painted.


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