Photographer Monica Denevan was born in San Francisco, California, but, more often than not, you’re likely to find her traveling around the world, particularly to Burma and China. The first time she went to Burma, she says, “I remember being struck by the meditative beauty of the landscape, the sensory chaos of the cities, and the quiet elegance of the people.” Quickly realizing that news coverage preferred a negative portrayal of Burma, Denevan decided to produce a body of work that documents life beyond the chaos.
She says, “I seek out quiet, remote places that have been relatively untouched by industrial development in order to photograph those whose culture and traditional way of life reflect a deep authenticity or bond with the past. I try to focus on the intangible spirit of a place that, for those who live there, represents their daily landscape.” Her images are all black and white, and subtly evoke the soft style and seductive, cinematic intrigue of a George Hurrell portrait. Denevan finds the stillness in everyday life through the dramatic lines, striking shadows, and crisp reflections that fill her compositions with a strong and elegant beauty.