Featured: 'Mingalaba!, Burma (Image heavy)' by Chrisnmn

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Chrisnmn, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris Leskovsek
    Hey guys, earlier this year I did a trip to Burma (Myanmar), and I wanted to share my experience with you,

    I’ve been asked a lot: Why Burma? My response is, I don’t know.
    My decision on what places to visit, or why, are based on the simple interest of exploring the unknown, the uncanny, personal desires, and basically just having the chance of going to places that I know very little about them.
    Visiting the golden land and get lost, with no plans other than simply let encounters and experiences guide me through this country, is my plan.

    After 24 hours, I arrive in Yangon. The smells, the dust, and the extreme hot and humid conditions are some of the things that I wont forget very easily. The only way I communicate with people is sign language and when I’m lucky in a very broken english.
    Suddenly I realize that people is more interested in me than I am of them. They take my photos as I take theirs. Curiosity is mutual. Not many westerners come here and much less interact with the people, or so I’m told by a local.
    Burmese people are some of the friendliest people I’ve met in my life. Curious, always with a smile wanting to share their food or tea or inviting me into their houses.

    Everywhere I go, the light is special, and something I have not seen before, long shadows that I follow in the narrow streets, surrounded by old buildings from the English and Portuguese days, I can still see the inscriptions on the walls. Crowded and chaotic streets with food smells, vast landscapes and one way rural roads, makes me think of Burma as a place stucked in time.

    I walk more than 13 hours a day, relentlessly, meeting people on every corner, I move by bus, train, boat, cow or anything that takes me across the country. No connection with the world at all, Burma is a place that takes me out of my comfort zone. In every sense. And I love that, just me, my cameras, my notebook and a bag.
    Every person that I meet, shares their life story with me, and how to face life from a different point of view. One that I now treasure and feel honored to have experienced.





















    All photos were taken with a Sony A7 and a Ricoh GR (with DIY weathersealing to deal with all the dust).

    If you guys want to see the whole series please go to my website www.chrisleskovsek.com
    • Like Like x 23
  2. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    Great images! It looks like interesting place to visit...
    • Like Like x 1
  3. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Love your shots, also the extra ones on your site (check 'em out people! Use the menu button up top!).
    Great work on the "frame inside the frame" on nr 7 and 19!
    Do you have any pics in colour?
    And how did you weather seal the GR? I sealed my X100 using electrical tape and a filter adapter/filter combo, worked a treat.
    Burma just moved up a few places on my bucket list :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Boid

    Boid All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    What a gorgeous set!
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Some wonderful images here; Nos. 2,3,5,8, 9, 12, 14, and 17 stand out for me. I would echo Bart's question of whether you have any in colour? The b&w processing portrays an air of darkness to the place which may or may not be accurate.

    I followed Bart's advice and clicked through to the rest of the set and would also recommend others do the same.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    more great images in this set than I'll get in a year.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Really fine shooting Chris. I just posted another set of Myanmar/Burma shots that another guy did a few days ago and these couldn't be more different. His were really kind of smooth and almost romantic looking, with many in color. Your's are much grittier, but I love 'em just the same. My particular favorites are 6, 9, 13, and 15, but I enjoyed the whole set. Looks like an amazing place to be, as well as to shoot. It's not on my short list, but I'd love to get there some day.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris Leskovsek
    Thank you guys for all your nice words and responses. It was indeed a very special trip, very eye opener in various ways. I loved Burma and would love to go visit again.

    As for some of your questions:

    Thanks so much for your words Bart! appreciate it.

    As for the color question, I shoot in BW, and my cameras are set to BW 95% of the time. So when I shoot, I shoot in a BW mentality, if that makes sense. But, Yes, I do have some in color specially of my wife and some other personal ones.

    The weathersealing, yes I think I did pretty much the same as you did on your X100. I bought the hood adapter then I put a UV filter in front and sealed the whole tube with duct tape and never took it out until I got back home. and it worked like a charm. Thats on the GR I mean, for the sony I did nothing. I just never swapped lenses during the day, only at night when I got to the hotel. and both the 35mm summilux and the zeiss 55mm worked wonders. The air blower was my best friend!

    Burma is a very special place, theres no comfort on anything, no internet connection, no tv, no supermarkets, no malls, basically no westernisation how they call it. If you can live without it, it is in fact, an incredible place. As for the westernisation comment, there are a few luxury hotels coming into some tourist parts of the country, and they are simply stupid, as some editor in lonely planet commented, there is some "disneyfication" ocurring in Bagan. But oh well. I just stayed out of that as much as I could.

    Hey Nic, thanks so much for your comment, it means a lot as Im a big fan of your photos!.
    About the air of darkness that may or may not be accurate: One of the things I love about black and white is that strips down the "front cover" of a photo and allows you to see beyond it. And I wanted to see beyond the strong colors this country has. As for accuracy, I don't really care if its accurate or not, Im not really interested in describing the place but more interested in the personal experiences, feelings, moods, questions and showing the things that caught my attention. As for the air of darkness, I don't think that I intended that, but I see your point, still, I'm not sure if that darkness is something that color would have fixed.


    WOW Luke I appreciate it, but I don't think it is true, I'm sure that you can get way more photos and this in a year!

    Thanks a lot Ray, means a lot to me. Is great to see the differences in your comparison. In my case for example, I was very aware that I didn't wanted to fall on the typical "postcard" type shots, which I shot inevitably. But when you go to this type of places is easy to "machine-gun" everything around you, (and actually saw a few photographers literally standing in front of a person with a humongous d800 or 1ds mk whatever and shoot at least 20 frames in 1second!) and I was aware of that. Yet, I wanted to focus in the everyday life, in connecting with people, and my feelings about this place. It is indeed a very, spiritual place, it open all your senses, you are on constant alert and I loved that.

    • Like Like x 6
  9. christilou

    christilou Legend

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    Amazing photos, I couldn't open these when I was in Spain last week but now I'm home I've had a chance to really savour them. I tried to pick some faves but each has it's own voice and it would be nigh impossible to pick out a fave:). Thanks so much for posting them and giving us a background write up.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. shaolinchris

    shaolinchris Regular

    Aug 5, 2014
    Los Angeles / Copenhagen
    This is some of the best stuff I've seen around here. Incredible.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    really nice images, well done, In these places I see B&W mostly as well
  12. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris Leskovsek
    Hi Christi, thanks so much for your nice comments, means a lot to me!. Did you take some pictures in Spain?

    Wow that means a lot sir. Thanks for such a big compliment. I'm honored you liked the series.

    Thanks Bob. I might work on some color in the future, but right now, I'm focusing on really learning the black and white language. That for me, goes well beyond desaturating a color image in photoshop.

    • Like Like x 2
  13. tdekany

    tdekany Veteran

    Dec 21, 2011
    Portland OR
    This set is really the best yet from you, very professional looking. You sure have developed your own B&W style.
  14. lucpher

    lucpher Regular

    Nov 24, 2011
    Amazing set of photos!! Congrats on your feature in the Inspired Eye.
  15. jloden

    jloden All-Pro

    Jun 30, 2012
    Late to the thread I know, I've been lax in keeping up with the forum(s) lately so I'm only just now catching up on some stuff I missed so I'm going to bump it anyway :biggrin:

    Chris, your work just keeps getting better and better. I absolutely love this project... especially that you went to a place known for intensity of color and vibrance and told a story in B&W that strips away everything but the subject and completely arrests the viewer. I enjoyed the whole collection, but your portraits in the set absolutely blew me away. That's the stuff right there that absolutely inspires me to keep shooting and developing my own work towards the style that's in my head.

    Bravo my friend... keep up the awesome shooting!
  16. BillN

    BillN Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Just as an aside, I notice that you have a couple of "portraits" in your set ……….. is it normal, (expected), when you ask people to pose that you make a small financial contribution to their welfare …… i.e. pay them a small amount?

    It would have been nice to see some colour as I would think that Burma is beautiful