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Crowdsourced Photography Website Showcases the Beauty of Everyday Life in Myanmar

 Life of Ferry Boats Yangon, MMR. 2015 © Thet Paing Htay

Photo from Featured Collectives by Thet Paing Htay. Life of Ferry Boats. Yangon, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

A crowdsourced photo blogging website, Featured Collectives, encourages submissions from photographers who capture the day-to-day of Myanmar's ordinary people.

Photographer Chit Min Maung, who is running the site, told Global Voices that the online project is intended to showcase the creativity of Myanmar's photographers and link them to the international community. He said:

In Myanmar, we usually shoot landscapes and portraits and we don't make much choices. So, we wanted to show that we still have different types of photography other than those two.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was under military dictatorship for more than 50 years until it transitioned to constitutional democracy in 2010. During the military rule, Myanmar largely remained detached from the rest of the world, preserving a unique culture and way of life. Last year, the opposition defeated the military-backed party in a historic election that could usher in a new era in Myanmar society.

As Myanmar prepares to pursue more reforms in the next few months, websites like Featured Collectives are essential in documenting everyday life in a rapidly changing society.

The photoblog features photo essays and individual photos submitted by photographers from both inside and outside the country. For example, one collection shows a man creating wooden beads.

Myanmar photography 1

Photo from Featured Collectives by ThuYein. © ThuYein Photography. CC License

The essay reads:

ပုတီးဟာ မြန်မာလူမျိုးတွေရဲ့ မရှိမဖြစ်အသုံးအဆောင်ပစ္စည်းဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ အမျိုးသမီးများရဲ့ အဆင်တန်ဆာအဖြစ် အသုံးပြုခဲ့ကြခြင်းကတော့ အထင်အရှားပါပဲ။ လွန်ခဲ့တဲ့ နှစ်ပေါင်း ၂၀၀၀ ကျော် ပျူခေတ်က ပျူပုတီးတွေဟာ ထင်ရှားတယ်။… အဆင်တန်ဆာပုတီးကိုသာ ကင်းအောင်နေနိုင်သူရှိချင်ရှိမယ်။ စိပ်ပုတီးကိုတော့ မြန်မာလူမျိုးတိုင်း မကင်းနိုင်ကြပါဘူး။… စိပ်ပုတီးကို အများဆုံးပြုလုပ်တာကတော့ သစ်သားနဲ့ပါ။ အထွတ်အမြတ်အနေနဲ့မို့ မွှေးရနံ့သင်းတဲ့ နံ့သာဖြူ၊ နံ့သာနီ၊ ကရမက်အသားတွေနဲ့လည်း ပြုလုပ်တယ်။… တစ်ပြည်လုံးအတွက် စိပ်ပုတီးတွေကို မန္တလေးက ပြုလုပ်ဖြန့်ချိတာများပါတယ်။… ပုတီးစေ့တွေကို ပန်းပွတ်စက်နဲ့ပြုလုပ်ပြီး ကျလာတဲ့ လွှစာမှုန့်တွေ ပုတီးဖောက်ပြီး အသားပြားလေးတွေကလည်း ပစ်စရာမလိုဘူး။ တစ်နှစ်လုံးစာစုထားပြီး တပို့တွဲလ မဟာမုနိဘုရားကြီးပွဲတော်ရောက်တော့ တပို့တွဲလဆန်း ၁၄ ရက်က လပြည့်အကူး အရုဏ်တက်မှာ ရုပ်ရှင်တော်မြတ်ကြီးကို မီးပုံးထင်းပူဇော်တော့ ဒီပစ္စည်းတွေနဲ့ မီးပုံးထင်းအဖြစ်ပူဇော်ကြတာပါ။…”

Beads are an essential object for Myanmar people. It is evident that it has also been a form of women's jewelry. Bead necklaces from the Pyu era 2,000 years ago were famous. […] Ornamental beads may not be used by everyone but meditation beads are important for every Myanmar Buddhist. […] Meditation beads are primarily made from wood. As it is considered sacred, they are made using fragrant wood. […] Mandalay is the centre for providing almost all of the country's meditation beads. […] Leftover fragrant wood from the production are not simply thrown away after making beads. They will be used during the holy festival, called Da Poe Twe, to offer fire to the Buddha image.

Here are some more of our favorite photos that depict everyday street scenes in Myanmar. Make sure to visit the website to see more amazing photos.

Photo from Featured Collectives by Phyo Hein Kyaw. Childhood. Mandalay, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

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Photo from Featured Collectives by Khant Min Htun. Mandalay, Myanmar. 2016. CC License

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Photo from Featured Collectives by Thant Zaw. The Coffee Shop. Yangon, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

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Photo from Featured Collectives by Myat Thu. Rakhine State, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

Myanmar Photography 7

Photo from Featured Collectives by Zarni Phyo.Novices. Lashio, Shan State, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

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Photo from Featured Collectives by Zarni Phyo. Yangon, Myanmar. 2015. CC License

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