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Myanmar: A Luminous Journey

Words and Photography by David Lazar

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Travelling with an ambition to explore and learn more about the Myanmar culture and that of various ethnic groups, photographer David Lazar was overwhelmed by the friendliness and hospitality of the people. The innate sense of generosity in the people of Myanmar is perhaps a reflection of the Buddhist philosophies and principles that are strongly integrated into their culture and way of life.

This photo essay features a selection of photographs from luminous Myanmar, capturing Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Mrauk U and the area around Yangon.

One of the elder generation of women in a Chin village near Mrauk U with a tattooed face. The ancient custom was thought to prevent invaders from stealing away the local women; the practice continued as a cultural tradition and was regarded as a sign of beauty.
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One of the elder generation of women in a Chin village near Mrauk U with a tattooed face. The ancient custom was thought to prevent invaders from stealing away the local women; the practice continued as a cultural tradition and was regarded as a sign of beauty.

A low-light portrait of an elderly man smoking a open-ended cheroot cigar.
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A low-light portrait of an elderly man smoking a open-ended cheroot cigar.

Three fishermen huddle together at dawn.
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Three fishermen huddle together at dawn.

A fisherman on Inle Lake paddling a long distance in his wooden boat, which is equipped with a conical fishing net.
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A fisherman on Inle Lake paddling a long distance in his wooden boat, which is equipped with a conical fishing net.

Portrait of a Kayan (sometimes referred to as ‘Padaung’) woman who works on Inle Lake creating and weaving colourful fabrics. The brass neck rings are quite heavy, and are worn to give the appearance of an elongated neck, which is thought to be beautiful. They are removed for bathing and sleeping, and the neck remains strong and healthy without the rings.
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Portrait of a Kayan (sometimes referred to as ‘Padaung’) woman who works on Inle Lake creating and weaving colourful fabrics. The brass neck rings are quite heavy, and are worn to give the appearance of an elongated neck, which is thought to be beautiful. They are removed for bathing and sleeping, and the neck remains strong and healthy without the rings.

Sunrise over Mrauk U, where more than 700 temples and stupas of unique Arakan design dot the hilly landscape. Smoke hangs in the air as people living here make fires to boil water and begin cooking.
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Sunrise over Mrauk U, where more than 700 temples and stupas of unique Arakan design dot the hilly landscape. Smoke hangs in the air as people living here make fires to boil water and begin cooking.

A boy — the son of Mu Mu — wears thanaka paste on his skin that has been applied in circular patterns, as a way to express his individuality.
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A boy — the son of Mu Mu — wears thanaka paste on his skin that has been applied in circular patterns, as a way to express his individuality.

Novice monks playing near their monastery in Hpa-An.
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Novice monks playing near their monastery in Hpa-An.

Silhouettes of local people crossing U Bein bridge at sunset.
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Silhouettes of local people crossing U Bein bridge at sunset.

Two children from the Pao-O tribe run through an area of ancient red brick Buddhist stupas near the village of Indein.
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Two children from the Pao-O tribe run through an area of ancient red brick Buddhist stupas near the village of Indein.

An elderly nun praying in her room at the nunnery. Nuns shave their heads and typically wear pink robes with an orange sash, although a small number wear brown robes. Nuns are not encountered as frequently as monks.
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An elderly nun praying in her room at the nunnery. Nuns shave their heads and typically wear pink robes with an orange sash, although a small number wear brown robes. Nuns are not encountered as frequently as monks.

Novice monks in Sagaing, north of Mandalay.
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Novice monks in Sagaing, north of Mandalay.

The full photographic journey is available in Myanmar A Luminous Journey, a fine art coffee table book of photography from Myanmar featuring 128 pages of stunning portraits and landscapes by David Lazar. The images were taken over five years as David travelled to the enchanting Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.
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The full photographic journey is available in Myanmar A Luminous Journey, a fine art coffee table book of photography from Myanmar featuring 128 pages of stunning portraits and landscapes by David Lazar. The images were taken over five years as David travelled to the enchanting Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.

Published on March 22, 2017
Country: Myanmar ›
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