Burma: To Stand & Stare

Burma: To Stand & Stare

By Tom Welsh


With a looming job in Singapore I persuaded production to book me an early flight out from London - the very next day. Facing a week on my own anywhere in South East Asia, I juggled the well-trodden destinations... but a couple of friends suggested Myanmar (Burma). Hours before my flight left London I submitted a visa, booked a flight from Singapore to Yangon and a couple of nights in a Hostel.



I barely knew anything about the place and joyously had no time for Trip Advisor threads & information overload; I’d packed no digital video kit or laptop, just my Bolex & a backpack of 16mm stock. I dictated my movements each day on advice from locals & other travellers, trying to cover as much of the country as I could by train - travelling North through Bagan up to Mandalay, and further on to Gotiek. It’s a truly beautiful country with undoubtedly the warmest people I’ve met; and a place I spent whole afternoons without seeing another tourist or traveller.


The verse is from ‘The Golden Gate’ - a book of British poetry for Burmese school children that I bought on the street on my final day. The poem felt closed my trip perfectly - I’d spent most of the week staring out of train windows feeling a million miles away from London.

Soundtrack by the wonderful Leif Vollebekk. I had his record ‘Twin Solitude’ essentially on repeat for the whole of the trip.

Shot on Kodak Vision 3 with my Bolex S16. Process & scan by Kodak London. 



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