Burma (Myanmar)

I spent the month of June (2012) in Burma (Myanmar) interviewing people from different walks of life including a Political activist, NGO workers, other photojournalists, traveller, teachers and even a Monk. I wanted to see what the locals thought of the future of their country since the election of Aung San Suu Kyie to parliament. I was asked by ABC Open the rural website for the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) to publish my findings as part of an ongoing blog. To follow my exiting adventure please follow the link to the ABC Open website below:


The Republic of Sudan is located in the Northeast of the African continent. The country gained independence from British and Egyptian administration in 1956, and since then has experienced famine, drought, and civil war. Sudan has had many government turnovers, mostly controlled by Muslim northern Sudanese favouring Islamic-oriented policies. Disputes have arisen with non-Muslin southern Sudanese, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, over access to power and resources, which has resulted in two extended periods of civil war (Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2007).

The first civil war began after independence and lasted until 1972. Fighting started again in 1983. The deaths from the second war and the resulting famine included two million deaths and four million displaced people. In 2003, fighting began again in Darfur which has resulted in over 200,000 deaths and two million displaced people. In 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by both parties which ended the fighting (Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2007).

The Australian Government’s Humanitarian Programme has helped to resettle many refugees and internally displaced people from Sudan. Sudan became the Programme’s top source country in 2002-2003. After 2005, many Sudanese have also been repatriated to Sudan with the assistance of the United Nations, though this has proved difficult as neglected infrastructure in the south cannot support the immediate return of citizens. As well as this, there are land mines in much of the region and continued violence along country borders and in Darfur. This shows the immense need for refugees and internally displaced Sudanese to be resettled in other countries, such as Australia.

Before being resettled, many Sudanese spent a long period of time in internally displaced peoples’ camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in Kenya, Chad, Ethiopia and Uganda. These camps have very little resources, including severe food and water shortages caused by drought and few medical and education supplies. Some children are born in the camps and know no other way of life. There are also different tribes in the camps which can fuel further conflicts.

It is easy to say a country has experienced civil war without really considering the resulting events that take place. Massive human rights abuses, including the killing of innocent civilians, even genocide, have taken place in Sudan. Possibly the worst element of the civil war is child soldiers and ‘lost boys’. Child soldiers are recruited by rebel groups and ‘lost boys’ have become separated from their families after fleeing war regions for fear they will be recruited. A refugee camp in Kenya was established especially for these children. These children have had to trek on their own for weeks or months to find safety in refugee camps. Along the way they have had to flee rebel attacks, wild animals, and try and find food and water. The atrocities of war that these children have experienced and witnessed will be memories that stay with them forever, as well as this, most will never be reunited with their families. Many of these children have been resettled in Australia.

Learn More

More information on Sudanese Lost Boys can be found at:

Information on the situation in Sudan can be found at:

Information on how Australia is helping Sudanese refugees:


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Gallery of Work

Something to consider before viewing the art – The artist does not use any photo enhancement software on any of his photos. He uses a traditional approach taught to him by his teacher (Mr. Bamba) of ‘spending time’ at the location and learning about when the light will hit the spot and what would be the best way to portray the subject. After careful consideration and usually many visits to the location he finally obtains a shot that is worthy of making it into his exhibitions. However, once in a while one can just get lucky and be in the right place at the right time. If you are interested in purchasing any of the photos please contact the artist through the website.

Burma (Myanmar) (June 2012)

Taronga Zoo (Sydney) (May 2012)

Cambodia  – Angkor Temples (July 2011)


South Africa






Ryan Michael

Ryan Steven Michael

Resides: Perth, Western Australia
Education: Masters in Applied Design & Art – Photo Journalism

Ryan Michael was born in the South Indian and immigrated with Australia at the age of 12. He is of Anglo-Indian descent and has strong links with his cultural heritage. He started travelling domestically at a young age due to his fathers’ profession as an office in the Indian Navy. On his arrival to Australia, Ryan grew up enjoying a typical Australian upbringing in Brisbane.

On completion of his schooling Ryan went on to study Business followed by a Masters in Finance. This path allowed him to continue to travel and work in countries including; Japan, Sweden, South Africa, Mauritius and also the United States. During these travels, Ryan realised that his passion didn’t lie in the Banking and Finance industry as it did not allow him to express his creative side. Not long after, he finally found his passion the day he was presented with his first DSLR camera by his mother. This camera ignited a love for photography, which turned into an obsession which he couldn’t ignore.
After training under a well-known French Commercial Photographer Mr.Bamba Surang (originally from Senegal) during his time in Mauritius. Ryan started to feel the pull towards his dream of becoming a Photojournalist.

Ryan’s photographic style could be classified as contemporary-world photography, combining his love for travel with his desire to show case stories that the main stream media sometimes neglects. His photography depicts people and places from Africa through to the sub-continent and of course his adopted home Australia. Ryan has travelled extensively seeking the connection between people past and present through their diverse cultures and customs. Ryan’s travels have drawn him to Photojournalism as it allows him to shed light on the challenges and suffering felt by people around the world. While hoping to inspire people to take action and make a positive change. Ryan uses his understanding of economics to visually highlight the inequality in this world.

For this exhibition, Ryan was approached by the ABC to write a blog during his travels in Myanmar which are currently featured on the ABC Open site. Ryan continues to write for the ABC on a variety of topics.


A note from Ryan

Using Photography
to Promote
Cultural Integration

When my family immigrated to Australia in the early 90’s the first things I noticed about Australia and Australians was the beauty of the country and the warmth of its people. Over the years as immigration to Australia has become more diverse (since the abolition of the White Australia policy) we have seen a greater variety of immegrants arrive on these shores looking for peace and prosperity.

This merging of cultures has been much easier in the fancy restaurants in the country than amongst its people. This got me thinking about how I could contribute in my small way to bring our diverse cultures together to bring out the best of both, our native cultures and our home Australia. Ever since I picked up a camera I felt that I had found a way in which I can use my talent to promote cultural understanding through photography.