Seeing the exhibition in Milan and hearing his explanations was a photographic and anthropological experience. Milan makes the most of his travels and focuses all his energy on his work, which he skillfully combines with his experience as a photographer, his synergistic and magical ability to achieve his “goals” and what makes him unique The humanizing and supportive qualities, to me even less.
A few weeks ago, the “THAI” exhibition opened at City House, featuring 30 unforgettable moments closely connected with “Myanmar Cooperation” and will run until September 29.
The guided tour begins with an audio-visual program about his work. Next, Milan explains the “title” of his image. Elephants, boys and girls with decorations, images of the morgue, Buddha statues, “transvestites”, street markets, street food, typical trains passing between stalls, images of school and play and finally, earrings hanging around the neck A classic and iconic woman. As we viewed the images, our private tour guide explained to us the details of daily life:
«Prostitution exists there and “kathoey” (men who dress as women or want to be women) are common. In fact, in many programs, there are 3 gender options when filling out. You can eat almost anything at the market. Although the hygiene is not the best, the food is very delicious, which is why Milan comments that it is better to get vaccinated against hepatitis A… Street stalls are common because people usually eat not at home, but at these stalls or on the street. They are open 24 hours a day! You can eat almost any time of the day…
The train that goes between stations is odd as it runs 5 times a day. As typical wagons passed by, “merchants” would place awnings to protect their goods… Another detail is the theme of death. The Thai calendar is earlier than ours, so if a person died in 2020, to them they died in 2563, which is 543 years early…
“Another curiosity is that in order to gain the trust of especially small children, and since my camera is so big, the first thing I do is practice juggling and magic games, and only when I start seeing smiles do I Start ‘shooting’.”
Finally, he commented on the reasons why women wear rings around their necks, the reasons being cultural and partly religious. They thought that this way the tigers that usually rip their necks off would not attack them. The Padaung, better known as Kayan Lahwi, are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group known for their “giraffe women.” The medical problem is not that their necks are elongated, but that their chests are “indented.”
Milan, now out of the group, explained more to me about his job. «This exhibition is my sixth solo exhibition and the fourth together with the Solidarity Photography Project. Regarding my daily routine, I have to tell you that the first thing I do is eat breakfast to replenish my energy. Then I take the camera and clean it so it’s ready to capture moments of my daily life. Been using my Canon and 24/105 lens, very good. I’ve been to Thailand, India and Nepal, Morocco, Tanzania, Algeria and TBD Senegal. It’s not Latin America’s turn yet, I’m thinking about Cambodia and Vietnam. On my last case with Myanmar, I felt really good because there were two areas that excited me, working with children and refugees. These are two aspects that inspire me a lot. Don’t ask me if they pay me…I don’t need anyone’s money or government help. I neither wanted it nor asked for it, nor did they expect it. “I don’t want to lose my independence,” he concluded.