KSN is a documentary photographer with a background in ethnographic research. Her original intention for learning photography was to apply a visual storytelling technique in her ethnographic research. She learned about the art of photography and visual storytelling through the seven-month course Contemporary Documentary Photography Practice (CDPP20) hosted by a prominent photography institute in Myanmar. KSN is also an alumnus of VII Photography Agency.
On 1 February 2021, a day of tragedy and anger, the military seized power in Myanmar. From this moment, KSN used her photography skills to contribute to the revolution. KSN and her Nikon D5500 camera became inseparable and communicated more closely than before. Every day she documented people’s resistance against the coup, covering street protests, defense war and stories of war-affected individuals. She created visual stories along with texts – both in a personal creative style and through a research-based approach. KSN considers her photography skills became established and improved during the revolution. When losing her words and suffering mental pains after facing tragic events, she also used photography to express her feelings. At present, she continues to create research-based visual artworks through her ethnographic research in cultural studies, as well as doing creative photography about revolutionary struggles.
KSN’s photographs about the Myanmar Spring Revolution have been shown internationally a range of times, such as at the Scholar-Activism and the Myanmar Resistance Symposium hosted by the University of California Berkeley, the Spring Revolution in Myanmar exhibition curated by a Japanese curator, and through the 100 Projectors project.
ARRIVAL OF SPRING
This is a long-term photo documentary about Myanmar Spring Revolution. On 1st February 2021, military seized power. We all knew it was unacceptable, so the people’s revolution started. From 6th of February, I documented people’s resistance against the coup every day. Day after day, I felt like this is the fight we have been longing for. I realized it is not just a movement, but a REVOLUTION aimed to dig out the military roots in civil politics forever. This is a great opportunity to unite all Myanmar people from different identities and communities and turn to a new chapter of Myanmar politics – a federal democratic country with a collective leadership. Of course, we are very sure we will send the military back to its barrack.
We set our goal.
And we know the path.
This is an end game.
“BODHISATTVA” MIND FOR A REVOLUTION
This portrait project aims to capture the image and spirits of Myanmar Spring Revolution heroes who are leading different resistance forms on the ground. I see them as historical actors. We should not miss capturing their images and voices. It is crucial to pay full attention to the way they think and believe, the way they involve, and the revolutionary discourses that they develop. These discourses show the path. I trust that all answers to solve the political deadlock are there. I held unstructured interviews with these individuals for about one to two hours and took photographs hiding their faces in a secret safe studio.
This project is about my personal space in between the crisis of the military coup and the third wave of Covid-19 in Myanmar. Since early February 2021, I have been documenting people’s resistance against the coup based in Yangon. In the months after May, I could no longer freely do photo documentation about the protests due to security barriers. I lost myself not knowing how to support the revolution effectively. Then I decided to go back to my hometown to take a break from my activities. In my hometown, I experienced circumstances of armed violence, Covid-19 lock-down, and Covid detection. Later I realized that the stay in my hometown is a liminal, which means a transitional space in between the past and the future. I had sufficient amount of time to reflect on what I had done and how I could continue in the future, especially how to support the revolution more effectively. This is a segment of my personal journey during the revolution.
Colorful flowery blankets in different patterns were on the streets in the anti-coup protests. They were completely soaked with water and laid down flat on the road. They looked ready to be used as protection from tear gas bombs and smoke. They were helping hands for the young protesters who placed themselves at the frontlines to face the hostile junta soldiers and police.
On 14 March, I joined peaceful anti-coup protests in Hlaing Thar Yar township, Yangon. Everyone, including campaign leaders, knew this protest probably would be brutally cracked down by junta soldiers, because the previous evening the coup council announced detailed information on television about the Hlaing Thar Yar protests and their leaders. All protesters were alert for security forces every second that day. I was moving around from one protest point to another. At around 11:00 am, I went to Mee Khwat Zay protest point. I could not freely take photographs there due to security concerns. I heard security alerts frequently from the leaders. I faced a complex situation and was not able to photograph with a free mind. Then I noticed, almost everywhere there were beautiful wet blankets on the ground. Immediately I got an unidentifiable feeling inside. Blankets are supposed to be in people’s homes to make families warm. Instead, they were on the streets to fight the junta. Patterns of the blankets were familiar to me and gave me a sense of home. I photographed every single blanket. Around 11:30 am, armed junta forces brutally cracked down on peaceful protests in Hlaing Thar Yar. Protesters were shot dead. According to a confirmed source, the death toll was higher than 70.