Richard K Diran
In 1997, Richard Diran published “The Vanishing Tribes of Burma”, a photographic record of the Vanishing Culture and Ethnic Wear of the isolated tribes of Burma. His work is one of the few records before the encroachment of modern living and fashion into their lives, and it earned him an acknowledgement from Aung San Suu Kyi, who wrote him a letter of praise for his work. (Click Here to read Aung San Suu Kyi's letter).
His subjects lived in remote, often hostile areas, where travel had to be undertaken by riverboat, elephant or on foot, through horrific clashes between insurgent groups and the Myanmar Junta. Travel to Myanmar itself was difficult; only 3000 to 4000 visas were issued each year, and only for seven days. However, Diran never felt the danger might come from the Tribal People, not even the Wa or Naga Peoples, who were fierce headhunters.
It was a timely record – barely less than a generation after, the tribes quickly lost their outward cultural markings as they started to purchase cloth rather than weaving it, leaving Diran’s work one of the few records of their vanishing culture.
Visit www.diranart.com for further information and images.
Selections from the Vanishing Tribes of Burma portfolio