“Riding around in the dark on a small bike, the chain slips off the back gears. A man is burning trash on the side of the road, the only light apart from the moon. I fix the chain and continue down the road, still no idea where I am or going or where the pagodas will be.”
Christmas morning 2012, I arrived in Bagan, northern Myanmar, by bus at around 4AM, rented a bike and got utterly lost.
I stopped in a little shack that seemed to be serving morning tea. It was about half-full of locals in beanies and overcoats smoking and drinking coffee. A young boy in the back was making bread at the fire-burning oven.
I ask to photograph him and was able to peer in the back room where he and his family sleeps, warmed by the furnace that makes the bread. The little boy starts to apply the traditional Burmese tree bark to cover his face, primping his hair in the mirror, but I did not take a picture.
There’s always a balance between shooting and respecting privacy, sometimes the line gets blurred and sometimes you overstep, sometimes you hesitate and miss a shot, but I’ll remember that scene in my mind forever.
The little boy did pose for a portrait and apart from that story, the portrait itself is nothing spectacular, but remains one of my favorites from the whole trip.
Attached are some snapshots from around the country that won my heart.