Life on Inle Lake hasn’t changed much in the last 150 years. It is an idyllic place in this modern world where life is far less complicated. It is not an easy life by any means; hard manual labor is commonplace, but the slow paced, easy going nature of the people is a treasure.

Here a young village boy toils in the early morning hours on his family’s long tail boat. He rises before the sun each and every day to gather sea grass that he dredges by and from the shallow waters of the lake. The lake’s waters provide everything for these people, it is their lifeblood in the very truest sense. The sea grass is used as fertilizer for the floating gardens where his parents grow the juiciest, giant red tomatoes.

The boy doesn’t own a TV, he doesn’t play video games, his dreams are different, simpler, easier. He beamed the biggest, kindest smile directly after this shot as he looked up from his morning’s work. It was priceless.

Inle Lake Boy
Inle Lake, Myanmar
April, 2017
Sony a7Rii

Aaron Hooper is a freelance photographer long known for his other identity as the Chef/Owner of Joe’s Downstairs Restaurant in Phuket. He is now refocused on his passion for writing, photography and travel. You can see more of his portfolio here.

— Aaron Hooper