Jana Sophia Nolle

Present and Past

Present and Past: Burma's Democratic Transition, 2015/2017

Recent attention on Burma has focused on the plight of the Rohingya minority and their abuse at the hands of an overzealous military engaged in gross human rights violations. Despite these constant reminders of a government that continues to seriously fail many of its citizens, ultimately there has been substantial progress over the last several years toward democracy and personal freedoms.

Working as an international election observer from 2014 to 2016 I traveled extensively throughout the country and had the chance to get a unique and intimate perspective of this decisive transition period.

My political observations were accompanied by my photographer’s eyes. I searched for moments that were representative of Burma’s fragile transition from a military dictatorship to a disciplined directed democracy, with a focus on the people living through this period of historic change.

This series “Present and Past” depicts my observations of individuals caught up in those social, cultural, and political transformations. It is an exploration of the almost intangible qualities imbuing public and private spaces with a newly discovered sense of freedom.

Roaming through many different cities and villages, from the center to South-east and South-west, interviewing a variety of people, I searched for subjects and motives that suited my topics of interests: freedom, state surveillance, people caught up between the old and the new system and a new sense of self-confidence of the youth.