Julian Ray Photography

History

A few weeks ago I spent a languid rainy afternoon exploring an abandoned relic of Burma’s rich colonial past.

In its day, The Pegu Club was an impressive destination. Built completely out of Teak by the finest craftsmen of the day it was an elegant, opulent, and stately refuge for travelers, writers, diplomats, and of course, officers. Built in 1882 it was one of the most famous luxurious gentlemen's clubs in the entire Mekong delta. Now it is slowly collapsing, owing to 50+ years of neglect and disfavor. No longer the “The Place” to meet, broker deals, dance, eat and, in general, escape the reality of life only a few meters away.

“The Pegu Club,” wrote Rudyard Kipling, “seemed to be full of men on their way up or down.”

These are a few of many images I made that surreal afternoon. I wanted to show some of the textures and details that are truly unique to this place. As the building was very dark I made these images faithfully dark to try and convey some of the mystery and wonder of the place.

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Stage room wall.
As always, I was instantly mesmerized by the exquisite textures and amazing colours.

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Courtyard walkway.
The dark rainy day added to the sense of history and richness of this place by lending a golden, soft, kindly light.

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The dining room.
Just the sound of muffled rain now.

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Light into the kitchen.

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Vanishing banisters and the their lines.....

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What have these windows seen?

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Modern plumbing “Added in the ’30s”

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Still air, now.
Everywhere I looked... these surreal colours, delicate and elegant.

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Many have come before and explored this place. A stark reminder of harder times.

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Keeping in... or out?

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Every modern convenience of the day, the Pegu Club had it all.

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For the Gents...
Colours on porcelain.

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Looking through into another time.

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Roots on the Squash Court wall.

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Curves and cobwebs.

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Fixtures long since rusted away, just the reminders, textures on the tiles remain.

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Every joint, pegged. “because nails rust away”

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A quiet and patient sentinel.

I look forward to seeing you out there.

Julian Ray
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