Petrina Tinslay photographed the “Burma Blossoms” feature by Matt Gross in the October 2012 issue. Here, she shares some of outtakes and impressions from her trip.

Petrina Tinslay Burma

“Bagan is home to thousands of temples in a very small radius, and is usually a must see place on visiting Myanmar, just for the sheer beauty of it. Flying in over the town you see a landscape just filled with spires, some glistening gold and others in the traditional terracotta bricks. The feeling of great faith and spirituality surrounds visitors constantly. Never more than sitting at sunrise or sunset, watching the sun glide past. This temple Shwe Gu Gyi is a favorite with tourists. On taking off in the car I took my final frame of the temple while moving. The ethereal sense in the photo reflects the feeling of the town for me.”

Petrina Tinslay Burma

“Z Craft Jetty in Bagan sees the dawn arrival of fruit, vegetables , flowers, and supplies from neighboring villages via small, wooden, motorized long boats. The action starts in the darkness before the sun rises and carries on till the sun breaks the horizon. It lasts for only about half an hour as the boats line the shore, unloading, then moving on to make room for the next inward-bound vessel. The arrival of goods sees a flurry of hundreds of people, dressed in patterned shirts and longhi, carrying loads that seem far greater than their body weight. The women seem to do most of the carrying and loading work. The awaiting trucks get packed up to great heights and everyone climbs on top of the loads to take to the local outdoor markets. But first they stop and drink a cup of tea or coffee with condensed milk, enjoyed hurriedly on squat stools that often resemble kids’ colored plastic furniture. It was a photographic shooting frenzy as colorful loads went onto each truck packed sky high.”

Petrina Tinslay Burma

“The faces of the Myanmar people are striking. Young girls are often adorned with the traditional thanaka (bark from a tree ground to make a sunscreen, that also doubles as a decorative element) on their faces. Walking in Yangon after photographing the local food market, I came across a brother and sister playing in a glass-fronted shop window. It was unclear what the shop sold, as it was closed. It was as if the children were on display, which I found quite an unusual photograph, especially since they seemed to be dressed in their Sunday best. The small boy ran away into the shop when I started to photograph, but his sister nervously posed for photos.”

Petrina Tinslay Burma

“There are a multitude of tribal headdresses in Myanmar. The photographic study on this was endless for me during my time in Myanmar. The diversity was most apparent in Inle Lake, home to many different tribal groups. They head down from the hills for the weekly local markets, both to sell and to buy. The Intha people wear a black tunic-like dress that is beautifully edged with colored cottons in green and red. This tribal Intha woman was on a communal bus at a Inle Lake local market waiting for the bus to leave. She didn’t want to face me as I went to photograph her and turned to show off  her stunning wrapped head from behind.”

Petrina Tinslay Burma

“The local tea houses are everywhere in Myanmar. The tables and chairs are low to the ground and families and friends gather to share small plates of food and tea or very milky coffee. This one, at a local market near the jetty that takes you to Inle Lake, had many families who had been shopping for their fruit and vegetables that morning. The table was packed with their purchases, like a bunch of cauliflowers bound with string and with a piece of wood through the middle to carry them. The room was filled with smoke from the cooking in the kitchen. In a world that has become so global—with the internet and shopping and the instant news ticker—it’s surprising to find something so strikingly different than you would find anywhere else in the world.”