쿤 라트 · Hkun Lat
Hkun Lat / Myanmar
Hkun Lat(1996~) is a documentary photographer from Myanmar. He is working on a personal project, as well as on news organizations like Frontier Myanmar magazine and Getty Images. He first became interested in photography at the 2011 Kachin conflict, which is the civil war taken place in the northern part of Myanmar. Through the photography of the war, news agencies of myanmar began to notice him, thereby able him to began a career as freelance photographer. His personal project focuses on unsolved and ongoing issues in Myanmar including civil war, natural resources, environmental concerns, drugs, and opium out-rooting movement. It is his goal to publicize the issue and make people witness the problems through his work. His award include Yangon Photography Festival Award, Ian Paris Scholarship in 2019, Human Rights Press Awards in 2020, Excellence at SOPA 2020, and World Press Photo 2021.
Cost of Jade
Hpakant, Myanmar, 2020
The town of Hpakant, located in the northern most province of Kachin in Myanmar, holds the world’s largest deposits of jadeite; Jadeite is more valuable form of jade between two. Although this industry is worth billions of dollars, intensive mining has resulted in high environmental and social costs. When the mine was controlled mainly by Kachin Independence Organization before the early 1990, local residents could benefit from the small-scale mine. However, former military junta took over much of the region after 1994 ceasefire, and signed over mining license to the companies of their own or of their own interest. These newly licensed company neglected the environment when digging up jade, and left behind a huge pile of fragile trash and steep trench that could easily collapse during the rainy season. As a result, hundreds of people have died from the pre-warned landslide. Ensuing COVID-19 made the situation in Hpakant even more difficult. As the companies paused operations and markets shut down, the price of jade has plummeted. The bad situation became even worse after the military coup.