The first photographs in Myanmar were taken more than 150 years ago. Whereas the many pictures from the early colonial times, taken mainly by foreign photographers, are well documented and preserved, the first local Myanmar photographers remain widely unknown. Since around 1910 a small scene of Burmese photographers emerged, soon superseding the “colonial gaze” of the foreigners on Burma and developing their own perspective and photographic interpretation of Myanmar’s lived reality.
Lukas Birk’s extensive research traces exactly this emergence of an autonomous Burmese imagery. Having searched hidden archives of antique dealers and photo studios, the curator and photographer has collected more than 10.000 photographs – a mixture of studio photographs, amateur and private photos, as well as press and advertising materials.
Franz Xaver Augustin, Director of the Goethe-Institut Yangon