One of my goals for this year is to create a photo book with images I have collected from my four trips to Thailand. I have made photo books in the past, but this will be on a bit more intense level. I want to tell a story of “how I see” Thailand and I know I have enough images to tell the story… in-fact I have more than enough images and that presents the problem of narrowing down my selection. I’m not sure at this point how to put it all together and that is ok because I’m not sure how I want to tell the story. It is kind of like cleaning that room you have been putting off doing for one year and every time you look at the room it just looks so overwhelming that you just close the door and walk away. Then one year turns into two years and then 5 years and then you start contemplating ways of just getting rid of the whole room. Could I somehow burn the room without burning the rest of the house? And then trying to justify with thoughts of “I really don’t need that room,” right?
Yeah that is kind of how I feel about this book. You see; as a photographer I have to put this project together because I have all the images just sitting here on hard drives and when I look at them I see a body of work that has spanned over almost 8 years and counting and nothing really being done with it. Well other than posting some of the images to Facebook here and there. But Facebook or any social media is not where my legacy will lie or at least I hope not. Let me explain my thoughts here.
So I am a man who married an Asian woman, I am also a man who never really ever thought I would be married let alone to a woman from another culture. It was just something I never though in a million years would happen. So needless to say it did happen and there were all these collateral changes in my life. One of those changes was finding Thailand and falling in love with it, the people, the culture and the photography it has to offer. Now with that said I think any place you go in the world has wonderful photography to offer as long as you can operate a camera the photography is there for the taking “so-to-speak.” The real challenge is to somehow tell a story or put it together in a collection and in this case a book. I think having all the images sitting on hard drives would be doing an injustice to me as a photographer. I never intended to photograph Thailand it just sort of happened. I had my first DSLR for over one year and like most photographers if going on a trip the camera is going too. I didn’t realize at the time that it would turn into a second trip and another and so on. But the one thing that did excite me the most on the first trip was the fact that I would be coming home with images other than the standard tourist shots. I knew I would be traveling to the farmland and into little villages and other out of the way places and that really intrigued me. In the beginning I did not have what I would consider a “good” camera or a good lens. In hind sight I can certainly look back and say “you don’t need high end gear” in fact in going back through the images I find that most of my personal favorites are from my first trip in 2009 and my second trip in 2012. I have divided my images into two groups, family and non-family. I don’t plan on putting many family images in the book unless they fall into the vain of what the book is about. So I may put an image of a family member working in a field, preparing food or climbing a tree into the book. As long as it is something that they would naturally do in the course of daily life.
My collection of images is diverse and there is distinct contrast between let’s say “an image of a farmer moving his buffalo down a country road,” to the image of a “refugee holding a baby while begging for money in the city streets.” I was also fortunate enough to be able to have the opportunity to get a somewhat diverse perspective such as shooting from the back of a pickup truck or having someone drive me around on a motorbike while I captured still and video images. Again it was situations such as these that allowed me to compose and capture in a unique way. I have blogged in the past about shooting from the back of a pickup truck and how unique it is to see the world around in that way. It also presents challenges to
shoot from a moving vehicle, sometimes at high speed, rough roads, wind, rain and sun. But in looking back I think those challenges helped shape the overall feel of the images, they also taught me how hold on tightly to my camera. Changing batteries, lenses and cleaning a lens while flying down a highway in the open air was something I never dreamed I would do, but I loved it.
So at this time I am currently moving through the collection of over 6000 images and making my first round picks. Some are images that were never edited, posted or printed anywhere; they just lived on those hard drives waiting to be discovered. With that said I am proud to say that every image I look at I remembered taking. So far I haven’t found an image that I don’t remember shooting or where I shot it. Please stay tuned for more on this project.