Calin Kruse

Photobook Workshop in Rangoon / Burma

At the end of August, I was invited to run a photobook making workshop in Rangoon / Burma. It the first photobook workshop that ever took place in Myanmar, in Myanmar Deitta, the country’s first and only institute supporting documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia production.

My workshops are about the creation of photobooks on the one hand, as well as about rethinking the photographer’s work in the context of a photobook on the other hand. I work closely with the participants in the production and presentation of a book from their own photo projects, focusing on design, editing, sequencing and the importance of materials in the production of photobooks.

Before the workshop, we went to street shops to check the materials available. Before I arrived in Burma, I was told that you don’t find different papers in Rangoon and the printing possibilities are limited, but it turned out that if you know what to look for, you find a wide range of materials. At the end, we managed to print (besides the digital printing) silkscreen and white on black paper. Riso printing is also possible and very cheap, but we didn’t used it because of the nature of the works.

In the first step, the six participants (Sai Htin Linn Htet, Yu Yu Myint Than, Shwe Wutt Hmon, Minzayar Oo, Hkun Lat and Wai Hnin Tun) started to work on their editing and sequencing with printed photos. We try to find out what’s the best for the book, even if it means to “kill” the darlings, to get rid of favorite photos or photos that might be good, but they don’t fit to the story.

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After the layout and the printing: late night making of the books – cutting, glueing, sewing. On the last day, we left the place at around 2.30 am.

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The dummies. We make dummies to see what works and what doesn’t, find other solutions, see if the editing, sequencing, size, etc. works or what can be changed – just for getting an idea what the project is about, and have something to show. We did the dummies from scratch in four days, the final book would need more time for finalizing the layout, working on the final cover, looking for the right materials and printing places.

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Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

Merken

Yu Yu Myint Than: Memory Lane

“I wanna go back home” are the words I frequently hear from San Kay Khine whenever I visited her in the hospital. San Kay Khine is a 17-year-old girl who spent 5 years as a tortured captive at a famous tailor shop in Yangon and was rescued after the publication of a report by an investigative journalist.

Though Kay Khine managed to escape, she suffered from broken bones in all the fingers from her both hands. Her arm was severely twisted and she initially could only stand for not
more than 15 minutes. Kay Khine has undergone several surgeries at the hospital for months and
now under the guardianship of Ministry of Social Welfares. She still  cannot be back home before her case is finished.

She always had a mature and calm disposition. I visited her home village Baw Lone Kwin without her to meet her parents. I had never been there before, but as soon as I got there, I felt familiar with the village. The rain trees and bamboo trees, the cows, the smell of soil after rain and the cool breeze passing from the paddy fields made me feel welcomed instantly. I felt like I could hear the giggles of San Kay Khine in her younger days playing with her friends; and imagined the ghost stories they shared at night with her friends. I felt like Baw Lone Kwin was my own homecoming. That unexplainable feeling of nostalgia is strange but beautiful. I breathed in the memories of her childhood in that village.

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“Memory Lane” is a beautiful gift for both of us, San Kay Khine and I joined to recreate her memories and visited her home village through her nostalgia.

www.yuyumyintthan.com

Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.Merken

Photobook Exhibition “Raving Madness / Coming home”

For the 2017 edition of the Obscura Festival of Photography in Penang / Malaysia, I was invited to curate a photobook exhibition, which travelled subsequently to Burma.

The selection of 20 titles was based on a personal perception of last year’s mood on different levels – political, social, emotional – and the reaction corresponding to this perception. This is my curatorial text:

“While our own state of mind is a vibrating string of uniform motion, the political, social, economical and personal changes seem to pass us with lightning speed, going above and through us like an uncontrollable steamroller. The fast and surprising flashing of conflicts make the space around and between us become an unstable place: On the one side, never knowing what will happen next and being prepared for the worst, and on the other side – being forged by the emotions and learning to be guided by basic trust. With these two elements in a state of calm and chaos, there seems to be only one exit: raving madness, or coming home.”

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The impressions are from the exhibion in Rangoon, the first photobook exhibition that ever took place in Burma – in Myanmar Deitta, the country’s first and only institute supporting documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia production.

 

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Photographers and book titles featured in the show
Alexa Vachon, What we do in the light
Andreas Frei, Hab Acht
Anna Block, Water Break Rocks
Anna-Stina Treumund, Lilli, Reed, Frieda, Sabine, Eha, Malle, Alfred, Rein and Mari
Christoph Bangert, War Porn
Çağdaş Erdogan, Control
Emilie Hallard, L.
Goran Bertok, Requiem
Janine Bächle, months together — months apart
Pieter Wisse, I Believe in 88
Ruth Erdt, The Gang
Mathieu Asselin, Monsanto – A Photographic Investigation
Laetitia Donval, Nerves
Laura Hospes, UCP
Olaf Unverzart, Leichtes Gepäck
Miquel Llonch, In the fields of gold
Miron Zownir, The Valley of the Shadow
Richard Robert, Noir Interiors
Shilo Group, Euromaidan
Simone Hoang, Ký úc / Memento

Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

“we will have been young”

we will have been young” showcases twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed series related to “Youth” over the past eleven months. The photographers have been mentored by Tobias Kruse​ and Jörg Brüggemann​ from the Ostkreuz Agency, and published by dienacht Publishing with the support of the Goethe Institut in Malaysia.

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“In summer of 2016, we met with twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries for a workshop in Penang, Malaysia. Over the course of five days we reviewed and discussed various images. Criticism was voiced and embraced. After this intense time in Malaysia everyone worked on their own project and continued to communicate with us and each other: Ideas and images were reviewed repeatedly, across different time zones and cultural boundaries. Equally important is that a group evolved out of the participating individuals that persists beyond the initial contact. The series of images have a common topic – ‘Youth’. Originating from this notion, each of the workshop participants’ task was to generate an idea, formulate it and eventually realise it. Sometimes this included failing and starting over.

Through his stark aesthetic, Alvin Lau shows us love in times of Tinder and we ask ourselves whether love has indeed become easier.

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Easy is the love between young homosexuals in Singapore, against all odds and beautifully depicted in the images of Lee Chang Ming.

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Likewise, Amrita Chandradas conveys the circumstances of life in Singapore with powerful portraits of a strong woman with a rare illness.

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Asrul Dwi deals with the stigmatisation of mentally ill youth in Indonesia and portrays them with a gentle touch.

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Dennese Victoria experiments with the realm of possibility and observes what unfolds – her construction of an ideal family turns into a touching intimate play.

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In a small village in the Malaysian jungle Elliott Koon documents the journey of young Orang Asli who are growing up in a world caught between tradition and the modern age.

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The modern era in Vietnam appears slightly lost in reverie in the images by Linh Pham of people celebrating in Hanoi, relating to excessive isolation and the search for reorientation.

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Muhammad Fadli captures the eccentricities of modified scooters – extravagant constructions, nailed and welded – in his portraits of Indonesians with their prized possessions.

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In Phnom Penh, Cambodia there is a house that once symbolized the rise of a new society – The White Building. Kanel Khiev shows us the inhabitants of this house before it is demolished to make way for future development.

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The story of the house that Geric Cruz embarks on is of a private nature. His memories of his own past are revived by a chance encounter with a young boy in his grandmother’s house in the Philippines where he spent most of his childhood.

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The time of adolescence in Thailand displays an invariable, almost military uniformity – clothing and hairstyle are orchestrated for all adolescents, leaving no room for individuality. Watsamon Tri-yasakda portrays transgender teenagers in their uniforms, with imagery that enlightens the issue and allows us to smile over the impositions of the present-day.

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With her poetic images, Yu Yu Myint Than introduces us to the dreams of a young woman in Myanmar who was severely abused and longs to return to her home village.

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Youth is a universal subject; photography is a universal language. No matter how different photographers’ approaches and works, their images are intelligible to all. Every viewer is or will have been young eventually and everyone likes to look at what might be the future one day. Images rendering this visible, remain forever present.”
– Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse

The works have been showcased at the Obscura Festival of Photography in Malaysia, and will travel in South-East Asia and to Germany.

You can take a look and get the book here: www.dienacht-magazine.com/publishing. Less than 100 copies are available.

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Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.