The Golden Land: Chris Leskovsek
“After 24 hours, I arrive in Yangon. The smells, the dust, and the extreme hot and humid conditions are some of the things that I won’t forget very easily.” – Chris Leskovsek
One of the things I love about doing On Taking Pictures is all of the terrific email we get from listeners. Some offer comments or feedback on that week’s episode, while others share projects they are working on or often personal stories about their lives. We also get a fair number of emails recommending photographers, either for our weekly Photographer of the Week or just a “hey, I thought you might like this.” Earlier this week, I got one such email from OTP listener (and terrific photographer) Lee Thatcher introducing me to the work of Chris Leskovsek, a Chilean-born street/documentary photographer currently living in New Zealand. While all of his work is superb, the project that was recommended to me is called The Golden Land, a striking set of photographs taken while Chris was traveling in Burma. Though I would love to travel more, at present I’ve only been two places outside the United States: Toronto and Florence, so for me Burma sounds like one of those distant exotic locales in a Bond film. In fact, what little I know of Burma was gleaned from the episode of Parts Unknown when Anthony Bourdain visited Myanmar.
Before even looking at his work, I was hooked by Leskovsek’s answer to the question of “Why Burma?”
“I don’t know. My decision on what places to visit, or why, are based on the simple interest of exploring the unknown, the uncanny, personal desires, and basically just having the chance of going to places that I know very little about them.
Visiting the golden land and get lost, with no plans other than simply let encounters and experiences guide me through this country, is my plan.”
I won’t spoil the rest of it for you but I invite you to read it and allow yourself to get lost in his wonderful work. This type of photography, with its high contrast and crushed blacks hits me right where I live. The exotic subject matter (to me at least) is icing on the cake. I encourage you to also take a look at his ongoing project called Øbservations, which he uses as the foundation for a bimonthly limited edition self-printed magazine.