Pazundaung market has become one of my favourite locations for photography in Yangon over the last few months. It’s mainly known for its fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, but you can also find clothing, household goods, spices and, due to its riverside location, rope and fishing nets.
There’s always a lot happening on the streets in Yangon. It’s not as crowded or hectic as Hanoi, where I used to live, and the pace of life is slower and less intense, but much of everyday life happens outside. In these pictures, I’ve tried to capture some of those everyday moments that make up the life of a city. I’ve realised that I tend to focus on single people in my pictures, but most of these photographs are about little interactions or shared moments.
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).
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.
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.
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.