Located in the remote grasslands of Burma southeast of Mandalay, Inle Lake is an ecosystem and cultural phenomenon all its own. The average depth of the lake is 5 feet, yet in monsoon season the depth doubles. Ten miles long and four miles wide, the lake and its environs are different than any other part of Burma, a uniqueness that stems from its remote location.
Roads here are mere suggestions; going almost anywhere involves a voyage overwater in a long-tail boat. Everything is distant from everything else here, but no matter. The sights, sounds, and smells of Inle fill the senses. Images pop up around every corner: fishermen and their long-tail boats, their legs wrapped strangely around the paddles; small villages clustered along the water like clumps of muscles clinging to a rocky shoreline.
These are the Intha people; relatively few remain. Intha means “Sons of the Lake” and it fits these people well. They are a subsistence people, living on the fish they catch and the produce they harvest from floating gardens. Every five days, there is a movable feast: a floating market that migrates around the lake to serve all the areas inhabitants, providing the few things they need that they cannot provide for themselves such as tools, baskets, silks, produce, and even boat parts.
On this day, I saw three women paddling towards the floating market, with jewelry and Buddhas and I knew this was beyond special. Eyeing a bridge over the water, I knew this was the spot. What better vantage point than above the stunning boats filled with hidden treasure.
Looking down from above, I had seconds to capture this amazing site. In that fleeting moment, I captured another snapshot in time, of a way of life far away from noise and rumblings of their bigger city counterparts.
Although a photograph is seen with the eye, it is made with the mind. Capturing that moment in time keeps living that moment forever. This was a moment in my favorite country on earth. A perfect moment. One that I will keep forever etched in my mind. My love for this country no words can describe. This is Mecca.
Location: Inle Lake, Burma
Photograph Date: 2015
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Available Sizes: 70cm – 150cm