This Week in Photos (3 of 3)

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800-year old temples dot the landscape at Bagan, in the parched plains of central Burma. An intriguing hybrid of Hindu and Buddhist imagery, and the westernmost point of the massive Angkor kingdom that once swept across much of southeast Asia, the temples of Bagan are deservedly Burma’s largest draw card for visitors. Estimates put over 3000 temples in a 42-square kilometre area, some of them restored multilevel palaces, used by locals for worship or shelter from the midday sun, others, crumbling ruins entered only with the help of a keymaster (often a farmer whose land the temple sits on.)

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Will van Engen, adventure photographer.

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We intercept three Burmese women on their way to market…

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…and take a stab at conversation with the help of a translation dictionary.

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Giant Buddhas adorn the insides of most, if not all, of the temples. Many were rebuilt using plaster and paint following the devastating 1975 earthquake.

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Buddha watches us watch you.

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A blind woman puffs on a locally-made cigar.

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Tending to the herd.

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Farmer’s brood.

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Crops line the way to two temples at sunset.

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Fences and cobwebs ring the headquarters of the Bagan division of the National League for Democracy, a popular progressive political party prevented by the military government from taking office in 1990 despite winning the elections by an overwhelming margin. The party was crippled in the violent aftermath and its leader — Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — put under a house arrest that lasts to this day. She was due for release on May 27 but her sentence was extended by another year, prompting a rare protest rally in a nation where the slightest outcry usually gets quashed with forced labour or a prison sentence.

Author

Austin Andrews is a Vancouver-based photojournalist and occasional filmmaker with a penchant for finding the fantastic in the everyday. Contact him at austin [at] disposablewords [dot] net

5 comments

  • Hi Austin, stunning pictures once again. THANKS!!! We read in the paper that assk has another year of house arrest. Tres dommage!
    Stay safe, continue to enjoy and looking forward to the next set of visuals!

    Reply
  • Ahoy Austin, remember me?! These snaps are mighty fine son, mighty fine me thinks – your semi-globe trotting trip must be doing wonders for the mind and soul me presumes – say, are you pondering a conversion to Buddhism at all? Tis a fine choice if so, a fine one indeed. Curious of your plans once the boat finally docks?

    ‘Doubtful you need more hearty inspiration but I recently came across this quote – “To collect photographs is to collect the world” – Susan Sontag (‘On Phtography’) – a fine read at that. Bon Voyage, Sailors! 🙂

    Reply
  • Thanks Aukje! We’ve heard that her house arrest must be renewed every year and that few were expecting that she’d actually be released this go around, particularly after the “trouble” she found herself in the last time she was free!

    Reply
  • Yo, don’t ya like Bondies no more, snappin’ traveler?….’Afraid me upstairs Q’s have osteoporosis now…crack, hear that?…

    Reply
  • Hey Ana! Your first comment was caught awhile in moderation, so even though it appears before my reply I actually received it after. Thanks for taking the time to drop a line and I apologise for missing your questions.

    I’m back in Australia for a few months, kicking around with the same group of people working on music videos and developing a slew of narrative projects, although I don’t expect I’ll stay long. I should know better in a few weeks’ time.

    I’d heard of ‘On Photography’ and saw it on store shelves but haven’t read it myself, although I may have to pick up a copy now that I have some time. That will be one of the things I’ll miss most about travelling, photography.

    Reply

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