A remote temple in Bagan, Burma.
Myanmar (Burma) is a land arrested in time. Decades of isolation under the ruling junta have limited the influence of mass tourism now prevalent throughout the rest of South East Asia. Feeling like a traveler in the 1970's, I found an old Chinese bicycle to explore the dirt roads and trails crisscrossing the plains of Bagan, the former capital of Burma where thousands of brick temples are congregated along the Ayeyarwady River. I was fortunate to meet a group of young monks out in a field who enjoyed seeing their photos on the LCD of my camera. They seemed to have a quick and natural sense of the moods I was trying to capture as they showed me some of their favorite temples. Clearly enjoying themselves, they became more competitive with each other, posing in ever more creative situations for my camera. My previous experience photographing the slot canyons of the USA became invaluable as I realized the qualities of reflected light in the adobe brick temples was very similar. In the slot canyons, I would toss a bit of sand into the shafts of light to give them definition. Here, I improvised and used incense that I bought outside one of the temples. Just before the sunset, we visited this very old temple where the atmosphere of light and the spirit of the friendly Buddhist monk seemed to come together in a way that captured the essence of this hidden place that feels lost in the ancient dusts of Asia.
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