Thursday, 13 February 2014

Konstantino Hatzisarros | Burma

Photo © Konstantino Hatzisarros-All Rights Reserved
Ah...Burma (or Myanmar!) It's on the mind of many travel photographers...on their itinerary, or their bucket list...some describe it as a fusion of South and East Asia influences, whether cultural, culinary or physical characteristics.

International tourism to Myanmar is mushrooming to unseen parallels after  being virtually closed off to the rest of the world for almost 60 years. It moved from a military to a more democratic government, and the influx of tourism has increased from 300,000 visitors in 2010 to about a million last year, with 7,000,000 tourists  forecast to visit the country by 2020.

I was fortunate to photograph in Myanmar in 2001 and 2002...when few tourists ventured to these magnificent country; at a time when the choice in hotels was limited and the dial-up internet was almost non-existent.

New York-based Konstantino Hatzisarros brings us his large sized photographs of his travels to Myanmar, including a few of the Chin minorities. While the practice of facial tattooing has largely ceased years ago, some Chin women can still be found bearing these, as it was a rite of passage for them as youngsters. However, the new generation are shunning the practice.

The ritual was officially banned by the then socialist regime in the 1960s, and the tattoos became increasingly rare as Christian missionaries converted the previously animist communities.