Saturday, September 17, 2011

Burma Daze

In between work and all the detritus of life I'm slowly getting through the pics that I took in Burma in July. One of the outcomes will be a series in a similar vein to the one I did in Cuba where I used Graham Greene's novel, Our Man in Havana, as inspiration. This time round it will show how I imagine Burma was during the era of Kipling and George Orwell's book Burmese Days. Not too difficult as, much like Cuba, modern day Myanmar looks very much like it's caught in a time warp and it's easy to find subject matter reminiscent of life in the early twentieth century.
Rangoon - Magic Lantern slide, Photographer unknown.
I've also started to accumulate a small collection of old postcards, magic lantern slides such as the image of Rangoon, above, to serve as a reference point and be included in the final book of the project. 

To give the 'feel' of the time I've been producing digital negatives from my photos and sandwiching these with various 'texture' negatives to give an aged, distressed look to the final darkroom/analog prints. Some of the early test prints can be seen on my flickr page, but here's a scan of one of the prints as it starts to near the final product. It's printed on my dwindling stock of Agfa Multicontrast Classic Fine Grained Matt, fibre-based paper, sepia toned then hand colored using the Marshall  photo retouching oil paints. 
Shan women at the morning market, Nyaungswhe, Burma. - Hand colored silver gelatin print
 It's a slow process, tweaking digital files to get a decent analog negative, selecting the 'right' texture/distressed layer to give the look, printing, toning and hand coloring, but I'm slowly getting there. Stay tuned....