18 February 2012

Gazing at Akha Dancers in Bangkok

The Akha are a hilltribe from Northern Thailand, closely related to the Hani of China's Yunnan province. They are a shamanic group that shares the ancient universal archetype that their goddess spins a universe where nature is not distinguished from humankind. Although many Akha, especially younger people, profess Christianity, the distinctive Akha Way aka akha zang still runs deep in their consciousness. 

The headdresses worn by women are the most spectacular and elaborate item of the Akha dress. Akha women define their age or marital status with the style of headdress worn.

Akha woman, Akha headdress, Thai hilltribes, performer, portrait, headshot, Northern Thailand, Bangkok

Akha woman, Akha headdress, Thai hilltribes, performer, portrait, headshot, Northern Thailand, Bangkok

Akha woman, Akha headdress, Thai hilltribes, performer, portrait, headshot, Northern Thailand, Bangkok

Seeds like small, white Job’s tears are used for the Akha people's elaborate headdress. So are coloured beads, the glass beads of yore now replaced by Chinese plastic. Some Akha groups use feathers and pompoms. Cowrie shells are still used; they were traditionally traded to a variety of Akha tribes and became a sign of wealth, having come to this landlocked hill tribe from afar. Above all silver is prised, especially coins, a clear statement of wealth and status. Old colonial silver coins like French-Indochina piastre or silver rupees from British India are valued. Poorer people use Thai baht coins. Silver is pounded and fashioned into coins and balls, and valuable ornaments become heirlooms passed on from generation to generation.


Portrait photographs of Akha hilltribe people in Matt Hahnewald's

12 February 2012

Grabbing Attention with Focal B&W

Focal black-and-white post-processing is in portrait photography an easy quick fix to guide the viewer’s eyes to the subject’s face, particularly to his or her eyes. In street portraits, it helps the subject’s face to stand out and to isolate the face from the sometimes cluttered background. Like a magical colour spotlight, focal black-and-white editing creates a beacon of focus and attention within a seemingly monochromatic world. It’s round shape is easily adjustable to any size and softness/sharpness. It's best to centre the focus in between the subject eyes (or slightly below) for portraits in full-face view, and onto the subject’s closer eye for portraits in three-quarter view.

Focal black-and-white post-processing works by having a street portrait appear as though it were taken in greyscale or black-and-white, with the subject’s face "colorized" as in the examples below (done with Picasa 3.9).

Burma; Myanmar; Inle Lake; Intha woman; Burmese woman; people; portrait; Burmese market woman; focal black and white; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; headshot; portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression
Burma; Myanmar; Inle Lake; Intha woman; Burmese woman; people; portrait; Burmese market woman; focal black and white; Facing the World; eye contact; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; world cultures; human face; encounter; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression; hand
Burma; Myanmar; Inle Lake; Intha woman; Burmese woman; people; portrait; Burmese market woman; focal black and white; Facing the World; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; encounter; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression
Burma; Myanmar; Yangon; people; portrait; focal black and white; young Burmese monk; young Buddhist monk; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; temple boy; maroon robe; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression; human head
Burma; Myanmar; Yangonl people; portrait; focal black and white; Burmese woman; thanaka; Facing the World; eye contact; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression; human head
Burma; Myanmar; Bagan; Burmese woman; people; portrait; focal black and white; thanaka; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; laughing; Burmese face cosmetic; yellowish-white cosmetic paste; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression
Burma; Myanmar; Bagan; Burmese woman; people; portrait; focal black and white; thanaka; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; big woman; Burmese face cosmetic; yellowish-white cosmetic paste; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression
Burma; Myanmar; Bagan; people; portrait; focal black and white; thanaka; young Burmese woman; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; Burmese face cosmetic; yellowish-white cosmetic paste; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression
Burma; Myanmar; Bagan; Burmese woman; people; portrait; focal black and white; thanaka; knitting; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; Burmese face cosmetic; yellowish-white cosmetic paste; travel; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel; portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression; half-length portrait; full-face view
Burma; Myanmar; Bagan; Burmese woman; people; portrait; focal black and white; thanaka; Facing the World; eye contact; smiling; Burmese face cosmetic; yellowish-white cosmetic paste; travel; headshot; Matt Hahnewald Photography; ethnic; ethnic portrait; posing; 4 : 3 aspect ratio; photo; image; travel portrait; environmental portrait; culture; one person; real people; human; photography; consent; empathy; rapport; portraiture; travel destination; tourism; horizontal format; world cultures; human face; human eyes; closeup; street; post-processing; editing; experiment; Photoshop; Picasa; focal B&W; experimental; amazing; interesting; inspirational; educational; facial expression




 Focal black-and-white street portraits from the Inle Lake in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2012-01c Facing Myanmar's Inle Lake
Focal black-and-white street portraits from Bagan in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2012-01b Touching Touristy Ancient Bagan
Focal black-and-white street portraits from Yangon in Matt Hahnewald's

07 February 2012

Exploring Awakening Yangon

Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is Myanmar's largest city with a population of over 5 million, the most ethnically diverse city in the country. Large communities of Indian Burmese and Chinese Burmese exist especially in the traditional downtown neighbourhoods.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese man, Burmese monk, Buddhist monk, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese woman, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white, old Burmese woman

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese woman, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese man, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white, green bush hat

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese woman, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese woman, people, portrait, headshot, focal black and white, thanaka, straw hat

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese man, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, straw hat

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, old Burmese man, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, Chinese top knot, Burmese Chinese people

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Burmese man, people, street portrait, headshot, focal black and white, cigar, bad teeth

Focal black-and-white street portraits from Yangon in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2012-01a Exploring Awakening Yangon

02 February 2012

Facing Myanmar's Inle Lake

The c. 70,000 people of the Inle Lake in Myanmar aka Burma live in numerous small villages along the lake shore and on the lake itself. The population consists predominantly of Intha, with a mix of other Shan, Danu and Bamar ethnicities. Most are devout Buddhists and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts. There are many traditional wooden Buddhist monasteries with friendly monks.

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Burmese monk, Burmese man, tatoo, people, portrait, headshot, Buddhist monk, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, friendly Burmese monk, Burmese man, people, street portrait, Buddhist monk, Burmese parasol, maroon robe, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Burmese monk, Burmese man, people, street portrait, smiling Buddhist monk, maroon robe, hood, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, grinning Burmese monk, Burmese man, people, street portrait, fat Buddhist monk, maroon robe, focal black and white

























The Kayan are a sub-group of the Red Karen aka Karenni people, a Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority of Burma aka Myanmar. The Padaung are a Kayan tribe and their name is a Shan term for "the tribe whose women wear brass neck coils" (more context and photos here). 

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Red-Karen woman, people, street portrait, headshot, posing Kayan woman, La Hwi, brass neck coils, giraffe woman, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, young Red-Karen woman, people, street portrait, headshot, young Kayan woman, La Hwi, brass neck coils, giraffe woman, focal black and white

























A temple boy lives in a wat and assists Buddhist monks. He carries the alms bowls of the monks during the morning alms collection, and subsequently prepares the monks’ food before eating the left-overs himself. Temple boys follow the ten precepts. A few are sent to become temple boys to acquire merit; the majority, because they are given free room and board; and others to receive religious and moral instruction. Some temple boys go on to be ordained as monks themselves. Temple boys may undertake the formal step of sāmaṇera ordination as part of their role, depending on their age and local custom.

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, young Burmese boy-monk, young Buddhist monk, people, street portrait, maroon robe, Burmese boy, focal black and white
























The Intha are members of a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group living around Inle Lake. They speak an archaic dialect of Burmese and are believed to have come from the Dawei area. They often live on Inle Lake and support themselves through the tending of vegetable farms on floating gardens. Also, the Intha are known for their leg-rowing techniques and are traditionally Buddhists.

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Intha woman, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, Burmese market woman, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Intha woman, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, Burmese market woman, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Intha woman, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, Burmese market woman, focal black and white

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Intha woman, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, Burmese market woman, focal black and white, thanaka face cosmetic

Burma, Myanmar, Inle Lake, Intha woman, Burmese woman, people, street portrait, headshot, Burmese market woman, focal black and white

Closeup portrait photographs from the people of Burma's Inle Lake area in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2012-01c Facing Myanmar's Inle Lake 
Closeup portrait photographs of longneck women in Matt Hahnewald's