February 08, 2005

The Smallest Photo Lab In The World


The Smallest Photo Lab In The World, Myanmar
Photography By El-Branden Brazil

Near Myanmar's prime historical site, Bagan, in the small town of Nyaung U, the beautiful Shwezigon Paya temple can be found. It is a place that resonates the strong Buddhist faith of the people in this country.

It is recommended that the temple is visited during the evening. Not only is this a very peaceful time, but it is also the time when the locals come to pray, away from the eyes of foreign visitors. It is also a time when the day's assortment of merchants, peddlers and beggars vanish, leaving the visitor free to roam without postcards, books or open hands being forced into their face.

However, whilst the temple is, of course, the focus of most people's visits, along one of the several hallways leading to the golden stupa, is a small curiosity. Tucked away to the side, is a charming elderly man, who sits in a tiny colourful wooden box. He claims that this is the smallest photo lab in the world. He quickly proves his craft to the sceptical, with a rapid demonstration of his photograph developing technique.

Whilst I wanted to help support this unique enterprise, I was a little fearful that the quality would not be up to the level I require for my shots. Yet, I am certain he gets enough business from curious tourists, willing to have their snaps developed in such an interesting fashion.

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