While studying post-colonial literature, I remember comparing different characters' response to oppression, hardship and poverty. Whereas some people manage to 'bend' and adjust others just 'break'.
The ’benders’ of the world are many and impressive, people who accept and adapt, no matter how horrible their situations might appear. However, there are also many broken people. Breaking when trying to fight back, or bend under heavy burdens and hardships. Some are simply crushed.
These photos are captured in Myanmar, a country that has experienced decades of suffering and tyranny in many different forms and they speak of the different ways that people can react.
Bent, broken or not – some people manage to ’break through’, or even to rise and ’break free’. I often wonder what sets these people apart from the rest. Like the trees that grow and climb on the old, naked walls in Yangon – they reach for the sun and seem to find their ways, no matter what.
This essay is based on my street photography. Images taken on various walks. I hope that they will speak to you, just as they have spoken to me, about human nature’s ability both to bend and to break, but also to bend loose and break free.
Magdalena lives with her family in Myanmar. She has previously worked for a number of NGO:s in Thailand and Laos on access to education for minorities as a means to breaking structural violence and promote sustainable peace. She is currently working as an independent consultant under the auspices of her own business ”Unfiltered Communications”. Her focus is on writing, documenting, and producing material for a variety of actors and organizations in Myanmar and the region.
Website & graphic profile by fallckolm.com