From mountains to beaches, monks to spirits, colonial architecture to hill tribes, Myanmar is a gem of contrasts and natural beauty. It is also sublimely photogenic, making books such as the newly published Burmese Light: Impressions of the Golden Land, by Hans Kemp and Tom Vater, visually arresting.
VISUAL TREASURES: Clockwise from top: The ancient city of Bagan; a transgendered spirit medium; selling firewood at Thaung Tho market; a tattooed Chin woman; and the annual Paung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival at Inle Lake.
With the country opening up and embargoes and sanctions lifted, Myanmar is seeing a surge in visitors both from the region and the West, making it a good time to publish a photographic record of the country. Many archaeological and natural wonders have been left untouched, as much through neglect as active preservation, while Myanmar's diversity of cultures remains a vibrant, compelling tapestry. In some respects the country was preserved in time for several decades under military rule; mass consumerism and commercial uniformity have largely been held at bay, but that is likely to change in the coming years.
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