Earlier this year, London-based photographer Ben Pipe decided it was time to refresh his travel portfolio with some dynamic new pictures. Having spent most of 2016 working overtime so he could buy his first home, Ben also knew it was time to refresh himself.
Ben had his eye on Myanmar for quite some time, so he decided to take the plunge, and he began the process of booking the trip. Ben had been to many Southeast Asian countries beforehand, so Myanmar was the next logical choice.
My personal work had fallen by the wayside somewhat during the previous 12 months and I wanted to get engrossed in a personal project with no client brief or expectations.
To prepare for the trip, Ben poured over guidebooks and spoke to other photographers who had been there before. Ben knew there were certain locations that were extremely popular with photographers. He researched these sites so he could avoid tourist traps and capture fresh images.
For that reason, I skipped Inle Lake which is famous for its balancing fishermen and ventured further north into lesser visited rural areas of Myanmar.
Since Ben traveled to Myanmar during the dry season, there were rarely any clouds in the sky. Coming from London, Ben wasn’t used to this, so he had to adapt to making dynamic pictures despite the lack of dramatic weather.
When I ventured off the beaten track, (in the north to Hsipaw and surrounding area, and in the south to Hpa-an), the challenges were finding photographs when it wasn’t as obvious as in the well-trodden areas such as Bagan and Mandalay. But after time receiving the area, I was able to find beautiful and original views, and have them all to myself.
Ben had an amazing time throughout his trip. He didn’t know what to expect from the locals, but he experienced some of the most genuine hospitality and warmth he had ever encountered.
The people were among the friendliest I have ever encountered anywhere, they have an enthusiasm for meeting foreigners after so many years of isolation.
One of the highlights for Ben was riding a motorbike as he explored the Burmese countryside. He really enjoyed the mobility and freedom it allowed him.
I kept wishing I had two wheels back in London!
Ben has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the project. One of the UK’s biggest photography magazines is using an image for its upcoming July front cover and running a seven-page feature on his work along with tips for travel photography.
See more of Ben at benpipe.com!