Friday Lens Affair #96

Borsang Umbrella Village

Today I’m featuring great photograph from Umbrella Village. Taken in Borsang in Thailand by Jonathan Look, Jr. from LifePart2 Blog.

In 2011 Jonathan sold everything he owned and took early retirement so he could pursue his passions of writing and photography and live a life of travel and adventure instead of comfort and possessions. His philosophy is, “Why sip life from a straw when you can gulp from a fire hose?”. You can stay in touch with him via Facebook and Twitter. He loves interacting with people.

For some reasons I have felt in love with this shot a very first minute I saw it, I guess it always amazed me how people create things…. I love to visit glass factories, art studios… to observe the process, you can see more pictures of those amazing umbrellas here.

Picture Story: Paper Umbrella Village in Bor Sang

When a friend suggested that we go on a mini-adventure to Bor Sang, also known as the “Paper Umbrella Village”, near Chiang Mai, Thailand it was kind of hard to get excited. I mean how interesting could a place that’s main industry is manufacturing tiny paper parasols for rum drinks be? But, I relented and it was in fact pretty fascinating.

Yurns out paper umbrella manufacturing is kind of a religion in Bor Sang, first introduced by the Buddhist monk Phrain Tha over on hundred years ago, after he had seen the Burmese making the parasols while he was on meditations near the border.

He studied their methods and brought the techniques back to Borsang temple. The umbrellas were such a hit in Northern Thailand, and so many people became involved in the manufacture, that an actual town grew up around the temple, so called the umbrella village.

Here, everything is constructed by hand. Women use machetes to cut bamboo into strips and that are assembled into frames.

In another part of the factory bark from Mulberry trees is boiled and pounded into a pulp which is placed on screens and dried into paper.

The paper, known as “Saa” is then meticulously sewn onto the frame with needle and thread.

In a separate area of the factory the umbrella are painted with Asian designs that have become famous all over the world. The umbrellas are manufactured in sizes from cocktail to ones that look large enough to cover a house and there are literally thousands of variations in design and style.

What I thought was going to be kind of a yawn turned into a fun challenge photographically. Of course the colourful umbrellas are beautiful but I wanted to take some time and capture something other than ordinary shots.

Long after my friend was ready to leave I was still trying to find ways to properly capture the light. Turns out I got some pretty good shots but I will go back and do some more.

 

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