“Burmese Photographers” now available in Myanmar language

Photographs in “Burmese Photographers” published by Australian Photographer. Photo: Zaw Gyi
Photographs in “Burmese Photographers” published by Australian Photographer. Photo: Zaw Gyi

Austrian born Lukas Birk, a photographer, has published a book, “Burmese Photographers”, featuring the works of generations of Myanmar photographers. The books are available in the Myanmar language in bookshops and libraries across Myanmar.
Birk, 35, spent five years searching for and collecting more than 10,000 photos by Myanmar photographers from earlier generations.
Now, with the help of the Goethe Institut, he has published these into a book that includes over 300 photographs from the ones he collected; these were originally taken by photographers such as Hasi Yone, U Kywet, Tayzar Aung, U San Aung and many others. In addition, the book will also contain essays by Nathalie Johnston, founder and director of Myanm/art, and Christophe Loviny, a journalist who has worked in Burma and Asia for more than 40 years.
When asked about the publication, Birk said he got the idea when he noticed the lack of any documentation of photographers in Myanmar. “I wanted the people of Myanmar to know that these photographs and their history are something to be preserved,” said Birk.
Because there were not many private collectors for these old photographs, Birk did not have any major challenges in acquiring them. “After one or two years I had made a lot of contacts and got to know so much about the history of photography here,” he said.
The book is first published in the Myanmar language so that the people of Myanmar will get the chance to view their history first, and it will later be translated into English, German and other languages. Photographers and enthusiasts can find out more about Birk’s photo collection at www.myanmarphotoarchive.com.
A photo exhibition, also called “Burmese Photographers”, is open in the east wing of the Secretariat and exhibits over 400 photos Birk has collected. The exhibition will go on from 18 February to 11 March and will also have the books available for purchase.
The book contains photos taken during political transitions in Myanmar, but the publisher’s objective is to preserve the works of Myanmar photographers as a historical document.—Zaw Gyi (Pa Ni Ta)

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