Tag Archives: Burma

Monica Denevan

Sometimes a photographer finds a part of the world that resonates so completely with their sensibilities that the marriage of the place and the person results in perfection.  Monica Denevan has been creating photographs in Burma (and China) for many years and with each new visit she adds to her stunning portfolio of images.

Burma, 2006

I seek out quiet, remote places that have been relatively untouched by industrial development in order to photograph those whose culture and traditional way of life reflect a deep authenticity or bond with the past. I try to focus on the intangible spirit of a place that, for those who live there, represents their daily landscape. Within this setting, the confident, self- possessed courage of the individual reveals itself. Although the people I photograph make up the content of my images, I hope to transcend the depiction of individual lives, by acknowledging their participation in a grander existence; a world of extraordinary resonance and harmony, humming within lives most ordinary.

Monica was born in San Francisco and studied
photography at San Francisco State University but it wasn’t until she started
traveling extensively that she began to see differently. She has been returning
to areas of Burma for many years, always with an open mind, a sense of humor,
and much patience. Monica’s photographs have been exhibited internationally.

Her work had been published in ZYZZYVA, Communication Arts Photo Annual, SHOTS,
Black and White Magazine, The Photo Review, The Sun, Artvas-The Photo (Korea),
and the Oberoi Hotel Magazine (India) among others. She is represented by Scott
Nichols Gallery in San Francisco, Duncan Miller Gallery in Santa Monica,
Capital Culture Gallery in London, and Tao Evolution Gallery in Hong Kong which
produced a small catalogue of her work. Monica’s photographs are in the
permanent collection of UCSF Medical Center.

Monica’s work was recently featured on Le Journal de la Photographie and is included in The Summer Show at the Scott Nichols Gallery in San Francisco, running through September 1st.

New images from Burma

The first time I traveled to Burma, I knew very little about the country and it’s politics. I remember being struck by the meditative beauty of the landscape, the sensory chaos of the cities, and the quiet elegance of the people. As I read and learned more about the history and political situation, it seemed as though the only news and images coming from the country were exceedingly negative and ugly.

 Most tourists are kept away from this reality, myself included. I was interested in photographing the people I was spending my time with and soon my days were all about making pictures. What I was drawn to were the areas outside the cities, the villages next to the river, where fishermen and their families lived and worked.

In that spare and graphic river setting, I made intimate portraits, mostly of the men I encountered, in isolated and stylized poses.  My impression is that much of the country looks like early 20th century images and I kept my version of that look in mind as I made my photographs. 

I travel with my Bronica, one lens, and a couple of plastic bags filled with Delta 400 film. My prints are made in my traditional darkroom and selenium toned.

On the Front Lines with the Kachin Independence Army

Burma is changing. On April 1, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi led the opposition National League for Democracy to victory in by-elections hailed as a landmark for the Southeast Asian nation. The win capped a raft of other shifts since the country’s military rulers ceded power to a quasi-civilian government last year. President U Thein Sein—a former general and one of this year’s TIME 100 honorees—has freed selected political prisoners, loosened the state’s grip on the media and signed peace agreements with ethnic rebels. But there are exceptions to the positive news from the country, notably the ongoing conflict in Kachin State.

As this series of photographs taken by Mexican photojournalist Narciso Contreras illustrates, the remote northern region is still at war. Following the collapse in June 2011 of a 17-year ceasefire between the Burmese army and ethnic Kachin rebels, violence has become an almost daily occurrence. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch claimed that the Burmese military has murdered, tortured and raped civilians. And, although they  also accuse the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) of “serious abuses, including using child soldiers and antipersonnel landmines,” most of the crimes outlined in this latest report were allegedly committed by the Burmese military.

The report is based on testimony from more than 100 people living in two camps for  internally displaced people in Kachin State and across the border in China’s Yunnan province. It finds that Burmese soldiers have deliberately and indiscriminately attacked civilians, tortured children as young as 14, raped women, pillaged properties and razed homes. By the organization’s estimates, the violence has displaced some 75,000 and forced men as old as 70 into labor on the conflict’s front lines.

There have been some gestures at peace. Burmese President Sein has made repeated calls for the military to cease offensive actions in Kachin and use only defensive measures. His government has held seven rounds of talks with the KIA, most recently in the border town of Ruili. However, those talks ended without agreement last month. The government cannot control the Army, they go their own way,” said Laphai Naw Din, editor of the Thailand-based Kachin News Group.

Meanwhile, the clashes continue. Contreras’ pictures, alongside accounts by other journalists and NGO workers who have recently visited the area, show both sides preparing for a long fight. For the civilians and soldiers on the front lines, change can’t come soon enough.

Joe Jackson works at TIME’s Hong Kong bureau.

To see more recent work from Burma check out Aung San Suu Kyi’s Path to Victory by James Nachtwey

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Path to Victory by James Nachtwey

Aung San Suu Kyi, once a prisoner, is now a parliamentarian. On April 1, the Nobel Laureate led the National League for Democracy to victory in by-elections hailed as a landmark for Burma. For five decades, the former British colony has languished under military rule, caught in the clutch of a small group of cadres. This was just the third poll since they seized power in 1962 and the first that might plausibly be called free or fair. Suu Kyi’s party swept it, claiming 43 of 44 seats.

For Suu Kyi, who spent much of the last 20 years under house arrest, the win was a stunning reversal. For her followers, it was a revelation. On the streets of Rangoon last week, the joy and relief were palpable. Supporters piled into pickup trucks, honked horns and cheered. A year ago, you could be arrested for clutching a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi. Now, people wave her picture proudly.

James Nachtwey’s photographs from the campaign trail capture this rapturous moment, but hint, too, at challenges to come. Though voters handed a clear victory to the opposition NLD, just a small portion of parliamentary seats were at stake and reports of electoral infractions abound. The military maintains its grip on power. Poverty persists. After 50 years of authoritarian rule, it no doubt will take time for the country to find its footing. For Suu Kyi, and for Burma, there is a long road ahead.

James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer. Keep up with his work on his Facebook page.

Emily Rauhala is an Associate Editor at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @emilyrauhala

Photographer #394: Jan Banning

Jan Banning, 1954, The Netherlands, was born from Dutch-East-Indies immigrant parents. He studied Social and Economic History at the University of Nijmegen. His work is a mixture of photojournalism, documentary and fine-art photography. He has released an impressive amount of photography books. His most recent monograph is Comfort Women, a series of portraits of Indonesian women who were victims of forced sexual labor during the second World War. During the war the Japanese military set up a system for sex slavery, forcing women into prostitution in military brothels. Most of the women suffered physical and emotional consequences ever since. In 2008 he introduced the book Bureaucratics, showing offices of members of the executive in various services and levels. The offices have been photographed in eight different countries on five different continents. The project was done with a writer; Will Tinnemans. As they would come by unannounced, Will would interview the employees, keeping them from tidying up the office. For the book Traces of War: Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra Railways he portrayed Dutch and Indonesian men who all worked as forced labor for the Japanese during World War II. They had to build the Burma or Sumatra railroads in miserable conditions leading to the death of many of them. The following images come from the series Comfort Women, Bureaucratics and Traces of War: Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra Railways.


Website: www.janbanning.com

Corden Potts Gallery: Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris

There is one week left of the Corden Potts Gallery’s terrific exhibition, Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2010 . The show will close on September 2nd. Those in the San Francisco area still have time to see the international array of images and image makers.

Jan Potts and Elizabeth Corden tell the story of house this came about: In November 2010, we had the honor of being among the reviewers for the first Lens Culture FotoFest Paris portfolio review. We met many talented artists there so we decided that a group exhibit would give you an opportunity to see work by some of them. Featured in this exhibit are: Sabine Delcour, France; Peter Eriksson, Sweden; Per Johansen, Denmark; Rubi Lebovitch, Israel; Ellen O’Connell, Switzerland; Ida Pimenoff, Finland; J. Scriba, Germany; Larry Snider, USA; and Helena van den Enden, The Netherlands.

If you are thinking about visiting Paris this fall, try to time your visit with the upcoming Lens Culture Foto Fest Paris 2011, for events, portfolio reviews, and more. You never know what might happen.

Images from Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2010

Per Johansen, Maet 4

Sabine Delcour, 09203 from the series Itsas Lurrak

Larry Snider, Burma Monk in Tree

Helena van den Enden, Blue Zone #3

J.Scriba, Escalator 5

Peter Eriksson, Nora on the Ladder from the series Penumbra

Ida Pimenoff, Untitled XXIX from the series A Shadow at the Edge of Every Moment of the Day

Rubi Lebovitch, Wool from the series Home Sweet Home

Ellen O’Connell, Figure Study 2

Corden Potts Gallery: Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris

There is one week left of the Corden Potts Gallery’s terrific exhibition, Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2010 . The show will close on September 2nd. Those in the San Francisco area still have time to see the international array of images and image makers.

Jan Potts and Elizabeth Corden tell the story of house this came about: In November 2010, we had the honor of being among the reviewers for the first Lens Culture FotoFest Paris portfolio review. We met many talented artists there so we decided that a group exhibit would give you an opportunity to see work by some of them. Featured in this exhibit are: Sabine Delcour, France; Peter Eriksson, Sweden; Per Johansen, Denmark; Rubi Lebovitch, Israel; Ellen O’Connell, Switzerland; Ida Pimenoff, Finland; J. Scriba, Germany; Larry Snider, USA; and Helena van den Enden, The Netherlands.

If you are thinking about visiting Paris this fall, try to time your visit with the upcoming Lens Culture Foto Fest Paris 2011, for events, portfolio reviews, and more. You never know what might happen.

Images from Selections from Lens Culture FotoFest Paris 2010

Per Johansen, Maet 4

Sabine Delcour, 09203 from the series Itsas Lurrak

Larry Snider, Burma Monk in Tree

Helena van den Enden, Blue Zone #3

J.Scriba, Escalator 5

Peter Eriksson, Nora on the Ladder from the series Penumbra

Ida Pimenoff, Untitled XXIX from the series A Shadow at the Edge of Every Moment of the Day

Rubi Lebovitch, Wool from the series Home Sweet Home

Ellen O’Connell, Figure Study 2

Photographer #346: Tiane Doan Na Champassak

Tiane Doan Na Champassak, 1973, France, started his photographic career with documentary photography. Now he focuses on fine art photography, however still concentrating on the human being as his subject. His work revolving around acts of faith and questions of identity become close to abstracts photographs. He has released various monographs for which he has traveled to many places around the world as India, Ethiopia, Burma, The Netherlands and others. His project Kolkata is scheduled to be released as a book in 2011. In the city of Calcutta he focused on the extremes; quiet and loud, clean and dirty, modern and old. The continuous duality became his leitmotiv and the reason to concentrate on street life to best represent the chaos of the huge city. The following works come from the series Spleen and Ideal, No Photo and Kolkata.

Website: www.champassak.com

Photographer #285: Kosuke Okahara

Kosuke Okahara, 1980, Japan, is a photojournalist who has been covering stories around the world since 2003. He made many photographs throughout the years in Colombia, dealing with drug wars and the drug business, journeys of illigal migrants to the USA, the harsh emerald minig business and the ordinary life of a Colombian hitman amongst others. Besides Colombia Kosuke has traveled from South Africa to France, Sudan to Burma and China to most recently Libya. Stories of self mutilating girls in Japan, the protests in Thailand and abandoned leprosy villages in China are all in his large portfolio. He received several awards and grants and has exhibited his work throughout Europe and Asia. His work has been published in many of the leading magazines and newspapers. The following images come from the current civil war in Libya and the stories Almost Paradise (Colombia – Mexico) and Rebels on the Edge (Burma).

 

 

Website: www.kosukeokahara.com