This is my contribution to World Toilet Day. It’s a collection of toilets in the cities I was in 2018: Bangkok, Incheon, Washington DC, New York City, Murmansk, Moscow, and Tokyo. Most of the time of taking the photos, I was drinking, no surprise.
I have been fascinated by urban abstract in different cities like Mexico City and Tokyo. Contrary, it took a long time for me to properly explore and take photos of this Bangkok neighbourhood, where I have been living and spending time (on and off) in almost a decade. I guess I just took home for granted.
There are a lot more stories about it. Shopfronts and urban development are just surfaces. The communities and people are the ones that make it vibrant. That is on my pending lists to share the experience.
Yaowarat (เยาวราช), referred by locals as Chinatown, was the only place I wanted to shoot some photos this time in Bangkok. The subject has been in my interest for a while and I didn’t even scratch its surface.
Of course, there were food, lots of street food and also people. Some stalls had a long line to get their services. But I was more interested in shophouse facades, one of the features that characterised cities in Thailand. Also, small alleys drawn me into them to explore deeper in the environment and its people.
It will be more interesting how a new subway station would affect this urban area.
One thing I couldn’t afford to miss when in Bangkok is the Royal Crematorium. The royal cremation ceremony was held in October 2017. The Royal Crematorium was still on display as an exhibition until December. I had an observation of people paying the last homage of the late King Bhumipol in December 2016. I was eager to see how they transformed Sanam Luang to glorify the monarch. They have done a very good job.
I don’t use a DSLR camera for a photo shoot much these days. But the day I visited Sanam Luang to take picture of it, I had so much fun. Because it was spectacular.
I arrived the place in late afternoon and the weather was perfect with overcast cloud to diffuse sunlight. It was not so busy that we needed to queue up. That gave me some rooms to take photos without bumping with the crowd.
Then, I realised that it was impossible to get deep down in details of the crematorium while photographing because of each element was created through the royal tradition with ancient Buddhist and Brahma believes. From the Funeral pyre to the surrounding pavilions converted into exhibition halls. And I didn’t do any homework on any of them what so ever.
So, yes, I was in awe and overwhelmed.
It wasn’t just the structures and the decorations that amazed me, but also the people. As the day went into dusk, the magic started to emerge—the golden hour of sunset. That was when the crowd started to form. There were some top spots for photographers stationed. But most visitors used their mobile phones or tablets to take picture considering it was a one-off event in their lifetime.
This was one of the most fun photo sessions I had for a long time. The last one I had real fun could be sunrise in Sydney I took in 2016. It reminded how much I could engage with photo shooting when the subject was astounding like this.