San San in Bagan, Burma, 2001

In the sweltering belt between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer lies the jewel of Southeast Asia. This place of dreams is called Burma. I first came here in 2001 with friends and stepped into a time warp that transported me to a place of mystery wrapped in intrigue and swaddled in the kindness of Buddhism.

After exploring the capital of Yangon, I felt the pull of the timeless temples and pagodas that dot the landscape of the magical place called Bagan. By the time we arrived, it felt like we were back in time. I was hooked. One trip to Bagan and you are hooked. Your only thought is when will I return?

Venturing out at sunrise one morning with my friends, it was fate that I had found the most beautiful little princess I had ever seen. San San became my new best friend in a country that would later become the center of my universe. Wearing fresh Thanaka face paint and a red flower from her mother, I knew something special was about to happen.

With the beautiful soft light of sunrise, San San joined me atop the temple next to their tiny wooden hut. I think my extreme love affair with this one-of-a-kind country began the moment I looked through my viewfinder and saw her stunning little face.

I found myself intrigued by wanting to capture her with my wide angle lens amid the endless sea of pagodas in every direction. When she looked away and into the distance, I knew I had found something beyond words. Something that had eluded me until that moment.

What Cartier Bresson called the “Decisive Moment.” This precious little five-year-old opened my eyes to the heart and soul of this very special country that has been kicked and beaten down for over twenty centuries. The landscape is nonstop eye candy in every direction but it is the people of Burma that steal your heart. San San has my heart.

Location: Bagan, Burma
Photograph Date: 2001
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Edition: 100
Available Sizes: 70cm – 100cm

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About the Photographer

Scott Stulberg

Scott’s love for travel and photography collided at a young age & have taken him to the corners of the world to capture the beauty and intrigue that this world has to offer. And from a young age, in his darkroom, under the safelights, smelling chemicals and listening to music, he lost all track of time watching his images come to life.

Although he has been using Photoshop since the beginning, it was the countless hours in the darkroom that made him fall in love with photography. He agrees with Einstein’s quote that “Imagination is more important than knowledge” as he says that his photographs lets his imagination come to life.

Scott has taught photography at many schools across the US including UCLA, where he won Instructor of the year for Photography and Photoshop. He also leads photography workshops all across the world and the United States. His coffee table book, Passage to Burma, showcases his travels since 2001 to his favorite country on earth.

From the faces of Burma, helicopters over New York City, the history and beauty of Europe, the eye candy of India, the wonders of the Galapagos Islands or the dazzling Milky Way and night sky around the globe, his images can be seen worldwide.

From Microsoft, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, In flight magazines, Wall Street Journal, CNN and ABC News to greeting cards, calendars, puzzles, book covers and bill boards, his images are used internationally. They are in countless collections from top 5 star resorts to major hospitals & department stores and are also on permanent display in the United Nations. Scott lives with his wife in the picturesque town of Sedona, Arizona.

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