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YPF 2015: The Emergence of Young Burmese Photographers


Kachin photographer Hkun Lat, is only 18 years old, he started photography a year ago with YPF’s workshop and at 17 was the youngest finalist in 2014 with an essay on opium in the Kachin state. He is dedicated to be a photojournalist and works for several newspapers. At the 7th Edition of Yangon Photo Festival his work “Fogs of War, a Kachin Tragedy” won the 2nd Prize for Best Story.

This poem he wrote describes his artistic ambition and political concern:

Haunting nightmares

Obscure future

Lost hopes and dreams

Lost in the fogs of war

Everything is vague

There is no justice

Haunting silence behind every case

Lost in the fogs of war

Rape victims, exploitation

Every piece of Kachin land is being destroyed

This moving photo essay tells of the impact of the Kachin conflict in Myanmar’s Northernmost territory, where fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar Army has displaced over 100,000 people over the past couple of years. One of the many ethnic conflicts in Myanmar, consequences of the British decolonization, the first Kachin war lasted from 1962 to 1994, then fighting resumed after government forces broke the cease-fire in 2011 and is still going on today. The fate of the Kachin people who are mainly Christian while the Burmese are Buddhist, has been confined to refugee camps, with civilians seeking shelter from armed skirmishes, airstrikes and artillery shelling, victims of child soldiers, rapes and landmines , with an economy reduced to opium trading, (heroin and amphetamines are on the rise), human trafficking, illegal logging and jade mining and smuggling…

As most of Myanmar’s jade production comes from Kachin state, there has been serious deterioration of the environment: erosion, flooding and mudslides, and pollution of rivers and lakes.
Hkun Lat has an instinctive eye for documentary photography, a Kachin himself, his description of the despair of the Kachin people reveal the flair of a natural-born war photographer.

(Photos by Hkun Lat, captions are added by Jean Loh)

The 7th Yangon Photo Festival
Institut Français de Birmanie
340, Pyay Road, Sanchaung Township
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel : + 95 (1) 536 900 / 537 122 / 535 428
[email protected]

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