After many, many visits to Bangkok's Chinatown in the last year, my seemingly aimless wanderings have culminated in this; beginning on December 6th, 15 of the images I captured there will be exhibited at Kathmandu, the Bangkok photography gallery owned by famed Thai photographer, Manit Sriwanichpoom. The official press release:
The Last Chinatown
A photographic exhibition by
6 December 2008 – 25 January 2009
[Opening party on Sat 6 Dec at 6.30 - 9 pm]
American photographer Austin Bush spent a year exploring the back streets and main drags of Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown. His cinematic images depict the realities and oddities of life in one of Bangkok's oldest neighbourhoods: the tiny alleyways with creepy old men and smoking teapots; the clacking of Chinese chess pieces and choppy conversations in Tae Chew; tired prostitutes and lotus bud-shaped coffins; bespectacled dogs and beggars. Unlike other Chinatowns around the world, which often seem little more than culturally-themed shopping centers, Bangkok's clings to its roots and continues to be a living, breathing, albeit gritty community.
After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1999, Austin Bush received a scholarship to study Thai at Chiang Mai University, and has remained in Thailand ever since. Austin photographs for various publications and writes guidebooks for Lonely Planet. Samples of his work can be seen at www.austinbushphotography.com. This is his first photographic exhibition. Kathmandu is located on 87 Th Pan, virtually across the street from the Hindu temple on Th Silom (see map below). Additional details can be obtained at the Kathmandu website. I hope those of you in Bangkok who read this blog can all make it to the opening!