Photographer Irene Searles casts her lens on the people and landscapes of Burma

by Linda Hubbard on May 30, 2014

Some things are worth waiting for. This is very much true for viewing InMenlo photographer’s Irene Searles’ photos of Burma, which she took on a February 2013 photo workshop trip led by Mark Tuschman.

Cat Comfort_IreneUpon return, she did a cursory glance of the 8,000 images that she captured but didn’t fully circle back on her body of work until this year. “I took a Photography and Light Room class at Foothill taught by Kate Jordahl,” she explained. “The Burma photos became my class project. I first narrowed them down to 1,300 and then down to just under 200. In consulting with my photography mentor Neal Menschel, that number got bumped up to 244.”

In time she selected 25 images that she processed and printed. “I wanted to have a range that showed the culture, landscape and people of Burma with a good variety of types of shots — portraits, landscapes, details,” she said.

Woman in purple_Irene

The Burma project featured a number of firsts. It was the first time Irene had printed her own color photographs (she’d previously printed black and white). “It was a bit of a learning curve to calibrate the monitor and make sure the colors matched the image,” she said. “I did a lot of test prints — a few I printed just once.”

This was the first major photo project Irene has done since chronicling the construction of Freewheel Brewing Company, which remains on display there. It was also the first time she used Light Room and Photoshop rather than Aperture.

Boy and balancing_Irene

Irene summed up her experience: “I did not expect to have any good landscape photographs, but two of my favorites are more landscape/architectural. That was  nice surprise.

“My downfall as a photographer is that I talk to people. Sometimes that leads me in being too interested in my subjects outside of  what I’m trying to do photographically. I’m working on making photography a craft and finding the moments.”

Irene is also working on putting together a website where her photographs can be purchased. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in buying any of the images that accompany this post — or seeing more of her Burma work — contact Irene directly at

Morning monk_Irene

Photos by Irene Searles; (c) 2014


Jym Clendenin May 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Beautiful photographs. Irene, I’m glad to see you’re progressing with your love of photography.

Irene May 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

Thanks so much Jym. Finding great joy whether I am shooting in Menlo Park or around the world. Glad to have this passion.

Elizabeth Ouren May 31, 2014 at 7:54 am

Wow, these are amazing photos Irene!

Irene May 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

Thanks Elizabeth!!

Scott Loftesness May 31, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Such beautiful work Irene!

Bruce Frymire June 06, 2014 at 9:06 am

Your image of the fisherman is nothing short of breathtaking, Irene. Beautiful color and composition. You should definitely enter the shot in this year’s National Geographic photo contest–think that deadline is coming up very soon. Wonderful work. Bruce

Comments are closed.


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