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Photos Look at the Lives of Sea Nomads Living off the Coast of Burma and Thailand

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Their relationship with the ocean is extraordinary, traditionally living up to nine months of the year on boats, learning to swim before they can walk, and perceiving the ocean as their natural habitat. Living as hunters and gatherers, they are living without materialistic desires, and have long been protected from influence from the mainland. The modern world is entering theirs, and slowly they are losing their religion to ours.—Sofie Olsen

Oslo-based photographer Sofie Olsen has been working in cooperation with an initiative called Project Moken, a multimedia platform in the works of making a documentary film about the lives of indigenous sea nomads living off the coastline of Burma and Thailand. Often inspired to photograph communities that exist on the fringe of society, Olsen found the Moken people and “their 3500-year-old culture as being one with the ocean” especially interesting. She learned to scuba dive so she could follow the men underwater as they hunted, capturing beautiful, quiet and intimate photographs. Olsen says of the several diving expeditions she has been on, “The feeling of weightlessness must be the closest I will ever get to fly, floating in an element where I am an alien makes me totally vulnerable and humble to the grandness of nature.”

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

Sofie_Olsen_Photography

This post was contributed by photographer Sophie Butcher.

  • http://www.oldmanwalking.com Jim Keener

    Your photographs encourage understanding and knowing. Thank you.