Interview with Project Director Melisa Teo

Melisa (left) checks out the group photo shot taken in Yangon on the project’s last day on 4 May 2013. Picture by Barry Broman

Melisa (left) checks out the group photo shot taken in Yangon on the project’s last day on 4 May 2013. Picture by Barry Broman

As 7 Days in Myanmar reaches its launch date on 2 December, we asked the project’s director of editorial, Melisa Teo, to give us her thoughts on the final product.

What are some of the highlights of this book?
The 30 special ways 30 photographers have looked at one country.

The words of Leo Tolstoy spring to mind: “If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”

In this one book, there are as many unique perspectives, emotions and styles as there are photographers.

Also, reading the last line of Thant Myint-U’s Foreword gave me goosebumps.

He says: “A hundred years from now, a person looking at these pictures may see a world that is gone forever, but he or she may also find signals of what lies ahead.”

I wonder if that person might feel the pounding of our hearts too?

Compared to other projects you worked on, what stood out?
The grueling logistics, magnitude of work, demanding schedule, and serendipitous way each piece of this giant puzzle found its place.

At the press conference to launch the project in late April, American photographer Michael Yamashita promised the “best photo book ever made on Myanmar”. Mission accomplished?
I’ll let the reader be the judge. But to my mind, yes.

How did you feel when you finally received the finished product?
On the one hand, overjoyed that we have finally arrived at our destination, and on the other, nostalgic that the journey is almost over.

Can you explain the multiple editions of the book?

There is a very limited gold edition for presentation to foreign dignitaries during the ASEAN Summit in 2014 when Myanmar takes the chair; a luxury slipcase edition for sponsors; and a dust jacket edition for bookshops. The last one will be available at leading bookstores in Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia by December first, and worldwide on Amazon in a couple months.