From the Series
For the past three years photojournalist Andrew Stanbridge has been photographing the Rohingya people in Myanmar (Burma) who have been displaced to detainment camps in Rakhine state after violence between Muslims and the Buddhist majority broke out in 2012. In recent months the Rohingya people have been in the news due to their exodus by the thousands on human smuggler ships. Stanbridge claims to be greatly concerned that the media has come to dehumanise the Rohingya by solely showing imagery of them packed into boats or images of the vastness of the detention camps. Through his images, Stanbridge has set out to take individual, dignified portraits of many of the Rohingya residing in the camps to allow viewers to look them in the eye. His work aims to regain a sense of identity for the Rohingya, as individuals in the world's vision.
The government of Myanmar does not recognise the roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya as citizens, turning them into a stateless people. In 2012, violent clashes with Buddhists in the western state of Rakhine caused 140 000 Rohingya people to flee their homes.
These refugees are detained in camps outside the coastal city of Sittwe, Myanmar, near the Bangladesh border.
Andrew Stanbridge has been traveling and photographing throughout Southeast Asia for the past 15 years. While traveling through these countries (particularly Cambodia and Laos) his interest was piqued by the histories of conflict that his own home country of America had been involved in and the recovery from the aftermath of these conflicts. For years he has concentrated on this theme by addressing the physical, emotional and cultural scars left from the various wars fought in these countries.
His work has followed Burma through its dark history and into the recent "democratization" and most recently he has concentrated on the religious tensions between Buddhists and Muslims.
All images courtesy of Andrew Stanbridge.