Photographs documenting stranger aspects of daily life in Yangon, Myanmar.
Lightning over Shwedagon Pagoda
Lightning striking over Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar, during the last storm of monsoon season.
Watching drag performers for the first time
Jan 27th 2018, at Yangon’s second ever Gay Pride celebration. Homophobia and discrimination are rife in the country, but events like &Proud are hopefully making steps in changing entrenched attitudes.
Independence Day Celebrations
January 4th marked the 70th anniversary of the Independence of Myanmar, and was marked a full day of games and celebrations throughout the country.
Lethwei Sparring at Thut Ti gym, Yangon
Lethwei, or the 'art of five limbs' is an ancient, venerable and brutal bare-knuckle martial art which allows headbutting and time to recover from being knocked out before continuing a fight. This is just a sparring session - there were even foreigners attending for fitness training - so gloves and pads were worn. Thut Ti is a great gym run by an incredibly welcoming family - definitely worth a visit if you're in Yangon and fancy a gruelling hours work-out!
Abandoned amusement park in Yangon
Stagnant pools of water, peeling paint, rusting carcasses of rides and enormous flocks of ravens crow over the skeleton of a once-popular attraction. Yangon amusement park was abandoned several years ago, but its workers still roam the empty, overgrown paths and rides. These same workers continue to live in the shopfronts they used to tend at the front of the park, while nature reclaims the land behind them.
Fire crews responding to a fire at Yangon General Hospital
August, 2018. A small electrical fire nonetheless led to the invasion of hundreds of firefighters and the evacuation of parts of the building as a precautionary measure.
Healthcare in Yangon is better than in the rest of Myanmar, but that's not saying much. Any serious injury involves being flown to Bangkok, where the standards are a world apart. Most of the surgeries and hospitals in Yangon are on residential streets, which can make reaching them in an emergency very difficult. It is not uncommon to see a private ambulance blaring its sirens while sat completely stationary, boxed into traffic.
Burmese mother sits amid garbage
Garbage and poor sanitation are a fact of life in Yangon, as this unfazed mother shows. Mounds of refuse are collected at the roadside next to open sewers and enormous rats run carelessly to-and-fro. These are problems weighing heavily on government minds; with the population projected to double to 10 million by 2040 and little to no infrastructure existing, how will they solve the city's waste problem?
Yangon street tea shop
Two things are ubiquitous in Myanmar: tea and child labour. Tea shops in Myanmar are social hubs - it is extermely common my Burmese people to visit one each day for a catch-up with friends. Child labour is also extremely common, with children usually working in the family business any time they are not in school (if indeed they ever are!)
Flasks in a ruined glassware factory
The ruin of a glassware factory destroyed in Cyclone Nargis has proved an unexpected tourist attraction - so much so that the owner now makes a living from guiding tourists around and selling glass curiosities at a heavily inflated price rather than manufacturing.
Painting trees gold is common practice in Myanmar's Buddhist temples.
Lethwei world championship
Held at the Thuwanna indoor stadium, Yangon.
Bogyoke market jewellery
Jewellery hanging in Bogyoke market, Yangon. Myanmar is renowned for its production of gems, with black-market jade estimated to be worth $31 billion a year (half of Myanmar's GDP!) in a recent Global Witness report. The conditions that Burmese miners work under to extract raw materials in Myanmar are incredibly dangerous, and ethically extracted gems are difficult, if not impossible to come by. Despite this, the growth of the sector shows no sign of stopping.
Ferrymen in Yangon harbour
Many workers in Yangon commute from towns across the river like Dhala. There is a large regular passenger ferry but for smaller drop-offs, or indeed a quicker but less comfortable ride, there are an abundance of small boats willing to carry you across. These boats wait their turn in a confluence of colour with remarkable skill with paddles, enabling them to stay fairly still in the turbulent waters.
A pack of dogs scavenging for food in an enormous rubbish dump between two apartment blocks in Downtown Yangon, 2016.