KENRO IZU PHOTOGRAPHY

1995BUR95

Pagan #95, Burma 1995
I can never get over my amazement at the number of ruined pagoda and stupa that stand on the Pagan plain. This day, I once more set my camera up and waited for the right moment, on a hill overlooking a ruin that exerts a fascination over me.

The sun moves and the shadows drift. As the clouds flow slowly I started to sense a delicate shift of the atmosphere. My mind goes blank and I experience a sensation of floating within the microcosm that is Pagan.

My Burmese guide, U Aye Thwin, who I first met two years earlier, sits quietly and patiently behind me. He says, "I have worked as a guide for many years but I have never seen such a big camera before and I have never seen anybody who can wait as patiently as you."

U Ahe Thwin must be in his fifties, he has a slight limp and is highly respected in his village. I heard that he takes care of orphans or poor families and that he even paid for surgery for a child suffering from a cleft rip. I realized that this must be true after witnessing the respectful attitude of the villagers who come out to greet him and offer him tea.

Waiting for the sun to set, he begins to speak quietly of his past; during the war, the Japanese army came in and chased the British army out, then left. Until recently, one of the Japanese soldiers who had been stationed in Pagan then, has been sending gifts every new year for the Burmese children. He told me about one of his sons who had died after being bitten by a cobra. He spoke without any prompting from me while we sat watching the ruin as it gradually returning to the earth.