John Summerhill: The Road to Mandalay

John Summerhill is a regular visitor to the camera club and every time his presentation delights. This time his subject was ‘The Road to Mandalay’ – a photographic impression of Burma or Myanmar as it is now known.

John’s pictures vividly captured both the splendour of that country as well as the incredibly hard life of much of its population. Even though there are Buddhas aplenty covered in gold leaf, there are still bullock carts and hard-earned incomes derived from on-street trading. John’s colourful images provided the club with just how interesting a holiday in that part of the world could be and how worthwhile for a photographer.

His photographs provided club members with a variety of views of the country from air when he took a hot air balloon flight and also from the water when he showed great silhouettes of the U Bein bridge – the longest wooden bridge in the world. Made of teak it stretches 1.2 km.

Perhaps John’s most fascinating images were of local customs and traditions such as their ability to carry heavy weights on their head and shoulders, the initiation ceremony for young monks, the carving of Buddha statues, the long-necked Kayan women and the fishermen who rowed their boats with one leg.

This was a fascinating presentation providing club members and some good reasons Myanmar was an ideal place for some excellent travel photography.