The Past is the Present

A collaboration between Myanmar Deitta and Goethe Institut Myanmar as part of the ‘My Yangon My Home’ Art and Heritage Festival.


An exploration of personal histories through photography.

Led by Pablo Bartholomew in English with translation to Burmese.

A collaboration between Myanmar Deitta and Goethe Institut Myanmar as part of the ‘My Yangon My Home’ Art and Heritage Festival.

Working with photo collections provided by the participants themselves this workshop will begin a process of researching, recording and re-imagining personal histories. The people and places shown in family albums, holiday snaps and private photo collections each tell different, interwoven histories of Myanmar. What narratives can be built from these photographs? What will be discovered when the places they show are revisited, re-photographed, and the people in them are able to re-tell the story of the photograph’s origins?

Photographers, historians, and anyone with an inquisitive mind. OPEN TO ALL. Please bring with you as many old photographs as you can – photographs will not be damaged in any way and will be returned to the participant on completion.

Pablo Bartholomew is an award-winning Indian photojournalist and photography educator based in New Delhi. He has recently begun exploring issues around his family heritage in Myanmar which his father, Richard Bartholomew, was forced to leave during the Second World War.

This photography workshop embraces digging up albums and old photographs, recording oral histories and analyzing and contemporizing the collected material with the aim of further photographing the people and places depicted.

This is a photography workshop that sets the tone to try and work with visual material collected, often personal and hidden, residing within homes of families or institutions in the form of albums and loose photographs. A modest start to begin piecing together unseen images that will serve as a visual reading of an alternative history of a culture and people.

By collecting, analyzing, digitizing and recording what the participants are able to bring together or find, the work’s endeavor will be to put together an important visual historical project that can be a starting point for further work. In this workshop, images of people and places in the found material will serve as a point of reference for further investigation and development - for example a street scene or a group shot that may have been shot 50 years ago can be looked at again today and re-photographed. These serve as important markers of a vernacular history, memory and storytelling that goes beyond the official history of a country, a city, a neighborhood, a street and the people that inhabit it.

The workshop will aim at looking at people and places in these photographs. Who are they? What are their stories? What is the memory their offspring carry on and how can all of this be photographed and put together with a focus on building visual and oral histories? Based on the outcome of the material participants bring in, they will be encouraged to use the camera to document the existing material digitally, record oral histories and further photograph the people and places from where this material originates.

The aim of the workshop is for participants to become familiar with the idea that there can be many parallel narratives that a country, its people and places can have beyond the recorded and broadcasted official history. At the end of the workshop all collected and created material will be collated to produce an exhibition so that participants can share and review how the material has come together.


Two weekends:

Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March 2015

Participants should aim to attend both weekends if possible.


Myanmar Deitta. 3rd Floor, Number 49, 44th Street, Botahtaung, Yangon.


This is a FREE workshop supported by Myanmar Deitta, Goethe-Institut Myanmar and the Yangon Art and Heritage Festival.


To register please email or call 0931 736154.

Download workshop details in English

Download workshop details in Myanmar