Endangered Archives

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EAP898: Myanmar negative records

The pilot project will set out to investigate the remaining negative archives and collections by local Burmese photographers. The investigation will take place primarily in Yangon but also in Mandalay and Mawlamyine. A detailed report on remaining negative archives and their condition, as well as the possibility to digitise and secure them, will be made and if possible, test digitisation will be conducted in all three cities. One such archive has been identified already in Yangon.

In western archives late 19th century photography from Burma is primarily by foreigners. These negative archives by local photographers would offer one of the only visual archives of its kind and offer not only valuable insight for scholars but future generations of Burmese people as the material provides a unique insight into local life in Myanmar. These images are not foreign obsevations, they are (especially due to the isolation of Myanmar) an insight view from within. They were not meant to fulfil a poltical agenda but to represent how Burmese wanted to present themselves to their fellow countrymen (most images are portraits).

These negatives are the only record of Burmese documenting Burmese throughout the last century that are in a coherent form. The current changes in Myanmar can only be described as rapid and materials such as negatives from the past are not considered valuable at this time. Many remaining photo studios who's owners have practised photography for several generations and many decades have either disposed of their negatives as storage has become difficult or sold them to recycling stations in order to extract silver from the negatives. The report and knowledge gained as well as the connections made during the research period should lead to a detailed work plan and clear objectives and possibilities for a major project as well as clarification if the materials still exist in the hoped for quantity.

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EAP898/2: Bellay Studio collection [1969-1982]

"Studio portraits taken between 1969 and 1982 by Har Si Yoi at Bellay Photo Studio. After Har Si Yoi's death in 1988 his son Tun Tun Lay took over the studio. Most images are taken on medium format film and a few on large format negatives (where indicated). The images range from portraits, photographs for national identiication to wedding and university graduation imagery. The photo studio is located on 22nd Street in Yangon's city center and very close to China town. Many of the people photographed were of Chinese ethnicity a community that suffered greatly under the regime of General Ne Win. The images were taken by Har Si Yoi (1934-1988) and have remained in the studio facility ever since. The storage space has issue due to humidty and termites and the negatives that were still intact were kept in plastic bags after 2010. Arrangement: Numbered by theme: Infants 1-179, Children 180-413 , Couples 414-631, Female Portrait 632-1669, National Identiy Card photographs 1670-1769 & 4422-4464, Whole Body Female Photo 1770-2143, Graduation 2144-3334, Friends & Family 3335-3858, Male Portrait 3859-4192, Weddings 4193-4349, Whole Body Male Photo 4350-4420"

EAP898/2/1pt11: Bellay Studio [1969-1982] Part 11

Extent: 400 Tiff files
Level: File
Scope and Content:
Language(s) Not applicable
Script(s) Not applicable
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