On 4th March Mölnlycke Fotoclubb chair Jan Arell joined us to describe the three weeks he spent 2 years ago visiting and photographing Burma (also known as Myanmar). Jan’s presentation was quite poignant, given the tragic news reports currently coming from that country at the moment. Jan had been a journalist and foreign news reporter, so he was used to touring and photographing interesting places around the world; and Burma/Myanmar was one of his favourite places. He began with a quick overview of the country and a map showing the many places he had visited during the three weeks. Then he entertained us with a stunning series of images of golden temples covered in gemstones, a truly gigantic Buddha statue and a temple containing the world’s largest book. He contrasted his images of bejewelled temples with the basic houses and shacks where people lived and the places they worked. He showed portraits of locals wearing colourful costumes and market stalls selling everything from food and textiles to gemstones. Jan also took us virtually on a narrow gauge train journey across the country, including a video shot as the train travelled across a frighteningly deep river gorge. Then he showed us the aerial images he had captured during a balloon trip across the country.
Jan told us that he found Burma to be a “photographer’s paradise”. He discovered almost everyone was eager to be photographed, and most would offer a portrait just for the laugh of seeing themselves appear on the back of your camera. The decorated temples, market stalls and lovely scenery also had great photographic potential.
Thank you to Jan for an evening that was both enjoyable, informative and tinged with a little sadness. Let’s hope one day the photographic beauty of that country will once again become its main talking point.