The People of Burma.
Photographs by Fredric Roberts.
Abbeville Press, 2011. 120 pp., color illustrations throughout, 10½x11¼".
Signed copies available to order!
Following the success of Humanitas and Humanitas II: The People of Gujarat, photographer Fredric Roberts now turns his lens to the captivating and controversial country of Burma. The result of eight years of travel throughout the region, the approximately 120 photographs in Humanitas III focus on the spiritually rich lives of the Burmese people. Featuring temples, portraits, scenes of everyday life, and incredible landscape, Humanitas III offers a rare view of a country that has been closed to -or avoided by- many photographers due to its social isolation and reputation for political repression.
Cicero coined the term humanitas (literally, 'human nature') to describe the development of human virtue in all its forms, denoting fortitude, judgment, prudence, eloquence, and even love of honor-which contrasts with our contemporary connotation of humanity (understanding, benevolence, compassion, mercy). The Latin term is certainly a fitting book title as we are struck with respect and awe for Roberts's subjects' individual fortitude and eloquence rather than pity for their plight: each photograph tells us a compelling story.
Curated by Britt Salvesen, the department head and curator of the photography department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, many of the images present subjects looking directly at the photographer and at the reader, effortlessly prompting a cross-cultural dialogue. Essays by Teri Edelstein and Emma Larkin, an expert journalist/author covering Burma, provide context for Roberts's photographs by describing the lives of the Burmese peoples.