“Mandalay” is the name of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling that was first published in 1892. The poem colorfully illustrates the nostalgia and longing of a soldier of the British Empire for Asia’s exoticism, and generally for the countries and cultures located “East of Suez”, as compared to the cold, damp and foggy climates and to the social disciplines and conventions of the UK and Northern Europe.
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 445 miles (716 km) north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one and half million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region.
Mandalay is the economic hub of Upper Burma and considered the centre of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past twenty years, has reshaped the city’s ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. Despite Naypyidaw’s recent rise, Mandalay remains Upper Burma’s main commercial, educational and health center.
For the photographer, Mandalay is a treasure-trove of photographic possibilities, that’s why we spend 4 nights in and around this amazing city. I’ll start with the above image, a photograph made at a small, family-run, alms bowl manufacturing shop on the outskirts of the city.