Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Fruit veg fish flesh fowl

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The street markets of south-east Asia in general, and currently of Yangon in particular, are a seemingly – hopefully – endless source of photographic inspiration for me. These pictures were taken towards the end of last year in a couple of different markets in downtown Yangon, where shoppers can find fresh fruit, veg, fish, flesh and fowl (and a few other things which don’t alliterate).

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fruit-n-veg

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Red & gold | Lunar new year in Yangon

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Although Myanmar celebrates its new year in April, there was still plenty going on to mark the lunar, or Chinese, new year in Yangon last month. Lanterns were strung across the streets in the Chinatown district and the city’s sizeable Chinese community visited local pagodas to pray and burn incense. There was also a replica Great Wall of China (not to scale) in one of the side streets.

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Evening at Shwedagon Paya

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Sometimes a city’s best-known, iconic sights can be a little underwhelming, but this is certainly not true of Shwedagon Paya, the golden Buddhist pagoda that towers over much of Yangon. It’s a beautiful, calming place that somehow manages to be both a major tourist attraction and an active religious site without any jarring awkwardness between these two seemingly incompatible roles.

These pictures were taken on a cloudy late afternoon and early evening in October last year.

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Night light

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I wrote a little while ago that I’m trying to take more pictures after dark; as part of that challenge, I’m hoping to put together a series of night portraits of people lit by their mobile phones. It’ll be a slow burner of a project, I think, but sometimes it’s good to go slow.

Lugubrious gentleman (and other pictures)

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Yangonites are a fairly cheerful bunch as a rule; this rather solemn looking gent is one of the exceptions.

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Chewing betel leaf is still a very common habit in Myanmar; these pavement stalls can be found on almost every street corner.

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Note to self: eat more bananas.

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Know your onions.

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Individually wrapped apples; only in south-east Asia?

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Good vibes; a Buddhist band prepares to take to the streets.

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Something magical about the early afternoon light in Yangon, even if it’s just falling on an apartment block.

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Sule pagoda; this leafy view is a little misleading as the pagoda is always surrounded by traffic, due to its location in the middle of a downtown roundabout.

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Behind bars (YSP #2)

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This is the second installment of my hopefully continuing Yangon street portraits series. When I used to take this kind of close-up portrait in Hanoi, with my 85mm lens, I always shot in black and white, but there’s something about Yangon that seems to demand to be photographed in colour. So, for now at least, colour it is.

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