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Myanmar: A Luminous Journey

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.

Published March 22, 2017 | Featured in

Country: Myanmar

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Words and Photography by David Lazar

Close-up of an old tribal woman's tattooed face, Myanmar
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 side view of a man holding a cheroot with smoke curling off it
A low-light portrait of an elderly man smoking a open-ended cheroot cigar.
Three fishermen with conical hats squatting on their boats and chatting
Three fishermen huddle together at dawn.
A local fisherman in Myanmar with a conical fish net on his boat in Myanmar
A fisherman on Inle Lake paddling a long distance in his wooden boat, which is equipped with a conical fishing net.
Close-up of a local tribal woman in a green head scarf and brass rings up her neck
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.
Aerial view of multiple stupas with smoke curling through them and the hills at sunrise, Myanmar
Sunrise over the hilly landscape of Mrauk U, where more than 700 temples and stupas of unique
Arakan design can be found. Smoke hangs in the air as people living in this area make fires to boil water and start to cook.
Close-up of a boy's face with white sandalwood paste designs on his cheeks and forehead, Myanmar
A boy wearing thanaka paste on his skin with circular patterns made for fun and individuality. He is the son of Mu Mu.
Two boy monks seated and another play leaping into the air with a stick in his hand, Myanmar
Novice monks playing in the natural scenery nearby their monastery in Hpa-An.
Silhouettes of multiple people crossing a wooden bridge on tree trunk poles at sunset
Silhouettes of local people crossing the U Bein bridge at sunset.
Two children running between crumbling brick stupas in Myanmar
Two children from the Pao-O tribe run through an area of ancient red brick Buddhist stupas near Indein village.
A shaven-headed lady praying seated on the ground in pink robes and a brown sash with light streaming in through the window
An elderly nun inside her room in a nunnery praying by the window. Nuns are not as commonly seen in Myanmar as monks. They shave their heads and wear pink robes with an orange sash (a small number wear brown robes).
Four boy monks standing in a line each by a pillar down a corridor
Novice monks in Sagaing, north of Mandalay.
A collage of books
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 and from to the enchanting Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma.
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