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Photographing Myanmar | Photographer in Tokyo, Japan
A train and busy platform at Yangon's central railway station, Myanmar

Photographing Myanmar

Having more time at home recently has meant an opportunity to revisit older assignments, re-edit some photos and get around to editing many more for the first time.

Looking back to my 2018 assignment

I was in Myanmar as ‘Unit Stills Photographer’ on a feature film, a Japanese film made by director Daishi Matsunaga. A few months before, I’d shot on another short film in the same series, by an Indonesian director and filmed in Tokyo. Daishi-san’s film was the final part of a trilogy that was shown at the 2018 Tokyo International Film Festival.

I was based in Yangon for almost two weeks, with a busy schedule of filming and not a lot of personal time to spend out shooting. That’s typical and that’s fine. I’m there to do a job. Work photos come first and anything else is a bonus.

You can read a little more about Daishi’s movie and see a few more of my production stills, here.

A country at a crossroads

Myanmar is certainly a country that is rapidly changing. The story of the movie I was there to work on dealt with that change: what’s good, what’s bad. What stays, what disappears forever.

Pretty sure if I went back tomorrow, I’d see massive changes from 2018. In five years, I’m sure I’d hardly recognise the place. The Covid-19 situation may slow some of the change down. But change is inevitable.

A few from the shoot, some from the downtime

The selection of photos I’ve put into this article is a bit of a mixed-bag. There’s a few shots of our leading man, Hasegawa Hiroki, and leading lady, Nandar Myat Aung. The rest are shots either taken in the places we were filming, shot during a bit of downtime. Or, from the few places I went on the day and half of free time I had during the shoot.

Everything edited with Exposure Software X5 and X6 plugins for Photoshop

Over the last few months, I’ve started using Exposure’s software again. I started out with AlienSkin plugins around 15 years ago. AlienSkin forms the heart and foundation of what is now Exposure. The company always made the best film emulation plugins. They still do. For me, coming from a film background but no longer wishing to shoot film, I wanted something that could offer me – in Photoshop – a similar palette of aesthetics as the darkroom. Alien Skin did that and Exposure does it better. The product has really grown up over the last decade. I’m having a lot of fun using it.

All the shots in this gallery have been edited in Photoshop using Exposure X5 and their new X6 update.

If you’re interested in getting hold of a free, full-functional 30-day trial, you can click here for my affiliate link. It’s also good for purchases. And the software is worth every penny.

Pretty much everything wide and standard that I shot in Myanmar was taken using the Hasselblad X1D-50c. The longer lens shots were all made with my Nikon D800e and 135mm f/2DC and 80-200mm f/2.8 lenses.