Photographer - Andrea Giuseppe Sanfilippo

The many faces of Myanmar (January 2016)

Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is a country characterised by a large variety of landscapes, ethnicities and a variegated history. The kingdoms that established in the area were already known to the ancient greeks, and had closed ties with the other asian empires. The diversity is also due to the large migrations, religions influences and conquest of the past millenium, including the arrival of mongols, the acceptance of the Buddhism. In the 19th century Myanmar became a colony of the british empire, it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II, and finally became indepedent in 1948. However an oppressive military junta ran the country from 1962 to 2011. Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the national hero Aung Sang who led to the independence, has been widely acclaimed by the population as the new leader towards democracy. Since 2010 the country is facing a transition period. As of 2016 Myanmar is rapidly evolving, foreign investment is growing (tourism is still the major source of revenues), and the ways of life are changing. At the same time more and more people are abandoning traditional systems (e.g. the "famous" Intha fishermen, photographed by Steve McCurry on the Inle Lake, mainly use motor boats and modern nets nowdays).
This story is about people and ways of life during such a transition period.

1. Baloons flying over Bagan at sunrise.

2. An old Paoh woman smokes a cheroot cigar in her bamboo hut in a tiny village on the mountains surrounding the Inle Lake.

3. 76 years old monk living in monastery outside Nyaungshwe.

4. Bagan temples and wheat field at sunset.

5. Monks queuing up for lunch, Mandalay.

6. Young monk in Ingwa.

7. "A window into the future".

8. School, Ingwa.

9. Monk-students on a trip in a holy cave outside Mandalay.

10. The rich and the poor-s, Nyaungshwe.

11. "Jue'" game, Old Bagan.

12. The guard, Mt. Popa.

13. Paoh girls returning to their village after a long day spent selling goods a market, southern Inle Lake shore.

14. Textile industry (especially silk and lotus) is traditional in Myanmar, Mandalay Region.

15. Street bookshop, Yangon.

16. Silversmith. Silver jewels are created since uncountable generations at the Inle Lake

17. Solhouette of the new Intha fisherman, Inle Lake.

18. Traditional longboats are getting motorised.

19. Kitchen, Mingun.

20. Kitchen, village on the mountains, 3 hours from Nyaungshwe.

21. Faith is incredible strong in Myanmar.

22. Soldier praying with a citizen.

23. Aung Suu Kyi, a new hope for Myanmar.

24. "Alternatives" in a country in a transition period.

25. Young pilgrims visit Mingun temple ruins.

26. Intha fishermen, Inle Lake. Nowadays they are more an attraction for tourist, as they moved to modern means of fishing and transport.

27. A view on the Taung The Man Lake.

28. ... but the way to the future is far, and sustainabily and pollution need to be urgently addressed. Mandalay dock.