The River Anthology, Portraits from Burma
By Monica Denevan
My first glimpse of Monica Denevan’s photographs caught me entirely by surprise. I found myself simultaneously drawn between two extremes of interpretation. Immediately beautiful and compelling in their composition, I had the feeling that I was looking at a collection of vintage fashion photographs. And yet, here surrounding these graceful forms was the powerful and compelling landscape of Asia, with all its haunting, mystical appeal.
“Often ravaged by the forces of wind and water, the people depicted here form a resilient front, a line of defense if you will, that engages them in an ongoing struggle for survival. Much in the manner of the trees and structures around them, nature demands of these bodies a similar willingness to conform. It is this engagement with nature that forms the subject of Monica’s work. Introspective and meditative, Denevan’s camera captures lives that have struck a delicate, often bittersweet balance. Full of visual vitality and natural symbolism, their spirit is a reflection of centuries of unchanging habits. Standing before us, each of these individuals manages to yield to the camera a quiet yet heroic presence. Her subjects, intimately connected to the man-made possessions that surround them, are caught in a transient moment, unfettered by what has passed, or what is yet to come.” – Scott Minick, Hong Kong, March 2007