Burmese-born photographer Chris Steele-Perkins has been documenting the country for 23 years and during that time witnessed it unfurling from a military dictatorship into a more open and accountable state. When Steele-Perkins visited in 2013, the country felt markedly different than previous trips. There was a gradual loosening of state control which followed the 2011 elections, when Myanmar’s first civilian government in decades took office. “Burma began to interact with the outside world and tourists came – and they realised this was actually something they rather liked,” he says.

Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that

Chris Steele-Perkins
© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

Chris Steele-Perkins was born in 1947 in Rangoon, Burma and at the age of two, moved to England with his father. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Steele-Perkins has produced some of the most iconic images of British society in the last half century, exploring youth subcultures, poverty and community with artful sensitivity. His more than 45-year career has seen him travel widely, making significant bodies of work in his home country of Myanmar, as well as Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Steele Perkins became a member of Magnum Photos in 1979 and continues to work in Britain and abroad.

© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

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