Advice on taking photos in Myanmar

I take a lot of photos. Everywhere I can and as much as I can. But I have to give some advice to my fellow shooters especially those from Myanmar. Why ? About what? you may ask . Well read on !

You see, shooting in the tourist areas and stuff like monks and monasteries should be no problem at all but when doing street photog near gov facilities or markets and in neighbourhoods, I guess you have to be more… more…”sensitive” ? Not everyone likes being photographed ( that much you already know – my younger kid hates it when I do ) but some people will come up to you with a serious (anxious ? ) face saying
: Why are you taking photos ?
Well, I’ve been asked plenty a time and my stock answer is now ” I am gonna be be in a photography competition and need new material”. That should take care of most enquiries. I know I could say something like ” I am taking photos of fairies or recording fossil life in a country perfectly mint-preserved in museum condition “etc. but who would understand all that stuff and why waste time explaining all that when you are out having fun with the Nikon ?

Well anyways, our country still has lots of quirks and going around snapping away with a camera may seem mighty suspicious for some. ” Some” meaning those who are blatantly doing something wrong or illegal but profitable in plain view ( or within telephoto range ) with the blessing of a local bigwig and they might think you are shooting for nefarious reasons like doing an expose of their misdeeds etc.

Sounds strange doesn’t it ?
Well,that’s the reality but keep on shooting !

How about foreigners ? For them, I don’t know.
I ain’t one !
Maybe get you’d get your memory card ripped out and eaten or mob-lynched or sent to the boondocks ?
Just joking! We, Burmese / Myanmar are much too polite and cultured to do such things to “guests”.

OK, OK, people from other lands, just say : ” Dat pon Yite mare OK naw ? ” to the denizens of this place to inform them you are about to take away their souls via your little magic black box !
Kids here will demand you do take their photos most of times too !

Locals,try to ask for permission to take photos of people too. Most people here will happily oblige . Me, I try not to take pics of people’s faces. That way I don’t need a model release.

And just for the record, I have not and probably will never enter a photo competition either. Most are rigged like beauty contests here, so some say !


~ by bestmandalay on December 15, 2009.

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