Martin Edström@martinedstrom

Photographer / VR & 360 Storyteller / @NatGeo Explorer / Director @ivarsthlm / In love with @katjaado

588 posts 25,521 followers 4,016 following

Bagan, close to Mandalay in Myanmar, is brimming with historic gems like this one: Dhammayangyi Temple.
You can completely surround yourself in what looks like a completely abandoned city of temples, partly claimed back by nature but with some truly breathtaking structures still standing.

These plains of Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th centuries. This kingdom was the first to unify the area that is now Myanmar, establishing the Burmese culture and ethnicity, as well as Buddhism.

Today there are about 3000 temples here, but it used to be over 10 000 and teeming with people. If one could time-travel... #myanmar #bagan #buddhism #temples #natgeocreative

Dhammayazika Pagoda

Keeping up to date with news of the world is important. Especially growing up inside a temple!

#myanmar #buddhism #reading

Mahamuni Buddha Temple

A young monk walking the streets of early morning Mandalay, holding his food bowl. I've always been fascinated with the tradition of "pindapata", where monks walk the streets to get food from their countrymen.

It's interesting to think how this would work in some other societies, like my own. We have tons of people all over the world who can't get food for the day. The difference with the monks and nuns in Southeast Asia is that when they show up - as people in need of basic food - people actually give it.

#myanmar #food #buddhism #burma

Bagan, Mandalay, Burma

Mandalay, early morning. Every person in town packs lunch in their super-smart aluminium food box with three separate compartments: one for rice, one for curry and one for bread.

Why am I never this prepared?

#myanmar #women #streetphotography #passionpassport #natgeocreative

Mandalay, Myanmar

I remember this moment perfectly. Me and @sealfrun were up with the sun to people-watch. This is very early morning, with a cool breeze blowing in the massive tamarind trees above our heads.

We saw these young nuns chatting away as they went on their early morning pindapata (when they gather food from the locals, since they are not allowed to cook for themselves). While monks and nuns can sometimes be depicted as aloof and distant, these girls hung out and laughed all morning. You can barely see it in the shot, but one of them is extremely busy texting on her phone.

For me, the whole image is about the holding of hands between two of them: symbolising that close, physical relationship that you usually don't really see in photos of monastic life.

#myanmar #buddhism #nuns #pink #women #asia @myanmartourism #natgeocreative

Bagan, Mandalay, Burma

What are they talking about?

With the horrible news coming out of Myanmar regarding the racist violence against Muslims in parts of the country, it's sometimes hard to think of the good stuff.
Myanmar is a country torn by an internal conflict in the north east, with precious resources like gold fueling the conflict.

It is also a beautiful country, where two girls can spend an entire day sitting in an empty corner of courtyard in a vast, golden, Buddhist temple.

When I asked what they were talking about, they giggled and one of them said: "I want to buy a car!" #contrast #myanmar #conflict #peace #natgeocreative


Don't you just wish you were a bird sometimes?

This is the famous Drangarnir cliff from the Faroe Islands - a cliff that has been photographed more times than most cliffs. It looks epic from ground level, sure, but I kind of prefer this perspective.
Yet another epic aerial filmed with the @ivarsthlm team.
@visitfaroeislands #visitfaroeislands #faroeislands #creative #drone #aerial


These are the magical northern cliffs of the island of Mykines in the Faroe Islands, one of the richest bird cliff habitats in the world - at the far western end of the islands.

This is another one of those aerials that really stuck out for me from last year. After staying up a full night - awake for like 36 hours - with @rapparsven from @ivarsthlm to catch the sunrise with the puffin birds, we were both delirious. No epic sunrise, the birds even slept in... Those clouds tho!

@visitfaroeislands #visitfaroeislands #faroeislands

Mykinesbygd, Faroe Islands

I love seeing processes at work in nature. Simply seeing ice form in the archipelago of Stockholm is quite magical.

Sweden has some of the best natural ice for skating in the world, and the sport is even called "Nordic Skating" because of its center being the Nordics. About 15 years ago the whole archipelago froze over, and you could virtually skate to the end of the archipelago - to the outmost band of islands far, far east of Stockholm.

Still waiting for one of those winters.

#nordicskating #skating #ice #sweden #stockholm #drone #aerial #archipelago #islands #ice #winter #isle #adventure #natgeocreative #neverstopexploring


Ta Kandja detention center, the first building people entering Europe through Malta get to see. This is where the majority of refugees and migrants are taken upon arrival over the Mediterranean, set in detention for 3 months.

It's basically a large cubic room with an equally cubic courtyard; no windows, high walls. This is where you wait for the big decision: if you're going to be deported back to Africa or the Middle East directly, or if you get a chance at applying for asulym into the EU.

This is one of the places that really haunt me, as it epitomizes the story of a refugee - a fellow human being in flight: it's as far from a home as you can get.

#refugeecrisis #amazingeurope #europe #europetravel #travelstoke #welcome #migration #asylum

Ta' Kandja, Malta

This is Mira.
She's one of the refugees who was (and might still be) stuck in the bottomless bureacracy of Europe because of the #refugeecrisis. At the time she said she was content with the treatment from the authorities - but as she said this while sitting locked up in a concrete detention center with nothing but bread to eat, I can't feel she meant it.

Me and my colleague Erik Paulsson Rönnbäck met her in Ta Kandja, the detention center in Malta where people who arrive over the Mediterranean were kept for 3 months before even given the chance to apply for asylum or a temporary work permit.

Being back on Malta purely for climbing over New Year's was a very wierd juxtaposition with impressions from this previous trip, another reminder as to how there are two completely different sides to our society: while climbing at the beautiful limestone cliffs, we were not even 3 kilometers away from the detention centers where people's futures are decided for them.

I look forward to go back and follow up on her story.

#malta #europe #fortress #migration #asylum #refugeecrisis #portrait #documentary #doc #

Ta' Kandja, Malta

Climbing wall, or impenetrable wall of Europe?

In one way, these are just waves crashing against the overhanging cliffs of Malta. But it's wierd how the sight of this might mean completely different things depending on your background.

Me, being a privileged person from Sweden, see a beautiful coastline and a few nice lines that might be possible to climb - for fun.

But for some fellow people on this planet, this is the first sign of land - and Europe - they have ever seen. Tens of thousands of people who have fled the Mediterranean on small boats to get to Europe have had these cliffs as their first impression of the continent, often getting arrested as soon as their boat reaches land.

Having been to Malta before to report on the #refugeecrisis it was quite a surrealistic thing to return for climbing and enjoying the island. I'll post a few photos to show you what I mean.

#amazingeurope #refugeecrisis
#cliffs #border #migration #climbing