Through a Burmese Window

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 April, 2011, 12:00am


Tao Evolution
May 2-Jul 2

Since her first visit in 2000, Monica Denevan has returned to Myanmar 13 times. The American photographer says she is always struck by how visually different it is from other places she has visited, enabling her to see the country with 'fresh eyes'.

Denevan's growing familiarity and intimacy with the nation is evident in her latest solo exhibition, which features 22 images she took between 2002 and 2010 - most of which are portraits of people who live and work on the Irrawaddy River in spare waterscapes and occasionally ancient ruins.

'I return to many of the same areas and photograph people repeatedly over the years. I am comfortable in my surroundings and less of an oddity to those I work with,' says Denevan.

'I never take candid pictures; instead the images are constructed with my direction.'

Denevan continues to photograph on film, printing her work in the darkroom.

'It is a very tactile, intuitive, and artisanal method of making photographs, a process which gives me great pleasure and is becoming increasingly rare,' says the San Francisco native.

'Although most of the news coming out [of Myanmar] is political and upsetting, I prefer to photograph the meditative, quiet elegance that I see wherever I go and which reminds me of early 20th-century photographs.'

One of her favourites is Content in the Shallows (above), which she says has 'a strong graphic quality yet is delicate and languid at the same time - it draws the viewer in with this juxtaposition'.

13 Circular Pathway, Sheung Wan. Mon-Fri, 10am-1pm, 2pm-7pm; Sun, 11am-6pm. Opening reception, May 11, 6pm-8pm; the photographer will be present. Inquiries: 2805 1112