Squatters on the edge of Yangon. Photo by Boothe Thaik Htun.

Squatters on the edge of Yangon. Photo by Boothee Thaik Htun. All rights reserved.

Powerful images capture everyday reality of political and social change.

Burnt out villages in Rakhine state and political processions through Naypyitaw’s halls of power; these are some of the powerful images captured by award-winning Myanmar photographer Boothee Thaik Htun.

The 18 select images from Boothee (some of which are featured in the gallery below) serve as an eye-catching and evocative backdrop to the 2015 Myanmar/Burma Update, which sees scholars and experts from around the world look at the country’s ongoing conflicts and what it means for the future.

Boothee’s photos, which include shots of Kachin soldiers, squatters on the edge of Yangon, and handclasps over tables at the end of peace negotiations, provide visceral glimpses into the day-to-day realities of political and economic change in Myanmar.

Set against the background of his home country’s transition, Boothe’s journey is equally impressive. Starting out as an amateur astro-photographer, he soon went from capturing celestial objects to making a living from the stunning images he captured.

Greater press freedoms and years of training with the Myanmar Photographic Society, saw Boothe land a job at the Myanmar Times, where he won a number of awards for his shots, many of which were featured on the front page.

But Boothee wasn’t content in the world of photojournalism. He wanted to do his own thing, and was drawn to travel photography.

With camera in hand he decided to drift – moving between Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and eventually all the way to Nepal and Mt Everest. In 2013 he began Astro-Photo back in Yangon, and his career as a professional freelance photographer was born.

Since that time he has been working on a wide range of photographic assignments, some of them for commercial outfits, others, such as the photographs shown in the gallery here, on current news and affairs in Myanmar.

As part of the 2015 Myanmar/Burma Update Boothe’s photos will be on display in the atrium of the Hedley Bull Centre at the Australian National University, Canberra until the end of June.

Canvass prints of the photos are also on sale, with all proceeds funding Boothe’s ongoing work. Those interested in purchasing a print can email luke.hambly@anu.edu.au

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