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Southeast Asia

Borobudur at dusk, Indonesia
Borobudur at dusk, Indonesia 1971, Brake, Brian (1927–1988), Jawa. Gift of Mr Raymond Wai-Man Lau, 2001. Te Papa

Brake’s photo agency Magnum encouraged its members to specialise in certain areas so that they did not compete with each other. Brake chose Asia, and based himself in Hong Kong from 1962 to 1976.

Brake said his attraction to Asia grew out of his first encounter while on a stopover in Singapore in 1951.

In a 1986 magazine article, he commented:  ‘I think it all stems back to that initial shock: the way people did everything on the streets – lived, ate and died there.’

Difficulties with language were also a factor, he said: ‘Later on I found that I was more comfortable in Asian situations than European. There wasn’t the language barrier. In Asia they don’t put you down if you don’t understand the language.’



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