Bagan Photo Shoot 1: I need a map

We have been seriously interested in learning photography for about two years, but have found it difficult to schedule learning experiences. While watching YouTube videos, we saw an interview recorded in Bagan, Myanmar, with a photographer named Maung Maung Bagan (pronounced “Mao Mao” for some reason). He is self-taught and his stunning photos have won numerous international awards.

After a fair amount of searching on the internet, we found Maung Maung and arranged for him to take us on a photo shoot.  He met us at our hotel on our first morning in Bagan and drove around searching for something.  Eventually, he stopped the car and said (I thought) “I need a map.” He got out and circled the car glancing in every direction. We were beginning to wonder if we had made a big mistake when he came back with a monk!  He explained that we could hire the monk until about 11:30, when he needed to be back at the monastery in time to eat his last meal of the day.  We hired him and drove to a location to replicate one of Maung Maung’s photos.

Monk with Umbrella

Two more mages from the first photo shoot appear below.

And two more images…

This was the first time we had worked with a model (and likely the first time the model had worked with a photographer). Despite the communications barriers and some other eccentricities, it was easy to see that Maung Maung is a photographic genius. We visited several more sites with other models which we will show in later posts.

Note: In Myanmar, consistent with the Buddhist philisophy, the young monk who modeled for us relies on alms collected from his community (see the alms bowl in his arms).  Since we had used the time that he would have had for collecting alms (usually food), it was only right to “pay” for his services by giving him the commodity that we had, namely cash. Maung Maung himself bought the boy a lunch which he could eat before the noon deadline.


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