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Everyday life in photography

Curator and famed photographer Hossein Farmani poses with the subject of Steve McCurry’s photo; K. Patcharamon Chudapakul.

By Shana Kongmun
Having always considered myself a picture snapper I have begun to rethink what I am and how I take my photos after meeting with the enthusiastic and inspiring Hossein Farmani who was in town recently for the exhibition that was on display at Central Plaza Airport Chiang Mai.
The exhibit, titled “Everyday Life,” was held as part of the celebrations commemorating the 180 years of U.S.-Thai friendship. Images were taken in America by Thai photographers and in Thailand by American photographers, each taking their own perspective of a different culture. Mr. Farmani helped to curate the collection, inviting many famous US photographers such as Steve McCurry, of the famous Afghan Girl photo as well as Thai photographers chosen by Manit Sriwanichpoom of Kathmandu Gallery in Bangkok.

U.S. Consul General Kenneth Foster and Deputy Governor Jarooonrit Sangernsat open the show by joining the two sides with a symbol of the Thai – US friendship.

I sat down with Hossein and we talked about his visions for photography in Thailand, what brought him here and how he sees the future of photography changing. Hossein is well known for being a part of the establishment of the Lucie Awards, the Photography world’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Grammys or the Tonys.
Hossein moved to Bangkok on and wants to explore promoting photography in Thailand, noting that the attitudes towards photography have changed with the growing middle class and the return of overseas educated students who have garnered an appreciation for photography while studying overseas. He said that while the audience is developing it is important to bring the level of photography to the international level, not only bring the artists up but their exposure and the curators.
Hossein said one of the interesting cultural differences is that Thai artists apologize for their work, their equipment and their experience but, he pointed out that if they want to present internationally this apologizing makes things difficult. He said this is one of the difficulties, is teaching Thais to say “This is my work” rather than excusing their work.

Tad Malone with his photo “Cement laborer and his child” at the exhibit.

Hossein has given lectures at CMU, Payap and universities in Bangkok, “I am like a missionary for photography,” he laughed. “I want to teach people how to see and take a photo. It takes a bit of effort. Many teachers put a lot of pressure on students on technique and tools and creativity falls off. I want you to concentrate on your style and learn to see.”
“I am not a hardcore technical guy,” Hossein pointed out, “Most important is the end result; that you create something that tells a story that I am interested in, that it takes me to where you want to go.”
“How you communicate with your photos is the most important thing,” he said, adding that photographers should study the works of other photographers, see what they were trying to see and say. However, he said the most important thing for anyone wanting to take a photo, whether to print, exhibit or just put on Facebook, “Before you push that shutter, think about what you are taking. Slow down before taking the shot and think about it.”

Hossein Farmani explains that the key to photography is to think about what you are taking the photo of, what you are trying to say and what story you are trying to tell before pressing the shutter button.

U.S. photographer Michael Sakamoto and his subject, performer Waewdao Sirisook.

Swiss residents meet for National Day

Chatiya, Pom, Kwan, Georges and Adolf show their Swiss spirit!

By Shana Kongmun
Around 145 people attended the Swiss National Day dinner held at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai on August 1, 2013. The group, consisting of a surprising number of resident Swiss nationals, as well as family and friends gathered for cocktails and conversation before entering the hall which saw an incredible array of foods, both Swiss and otherwise, including a huge Parma ham, multitudes of cheese and more. The dessert table alone filled the middle part of the room, covered in, of course, chocolate and favorite European desserts.
Swiss Honorary Consul Marc Dumur joined the evening that was put on by the well organized and active Swiss Lanna Society. The Swiss Lanna Society held a raffle of donated goods that raised 42,000 baht which will go towards the project “Child’s Dream”. Child’s Dream has built a large school for migrants in Mae Sot and funds projects which require that the local community be involved in the project and are committed to its success. They believe that education and empowerment are the most important tools and so help to fund education as well improve basic health conditions in impoverished areas.

Annalies and Eveline are hard working members of the Swiss Lanna Society who helped to get the event organized.

Dylan wears his Swiss t-shirt with mom Jaemjung and dad John.

Swiss Honorary Consul Marc Dumur joined Christian, Wilai, Melissa and Heinz before the start of dinner at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai.

Elegant 137 Pillars House hosts Skalleagues

General Manager of 137 Pillars House Manfred Ilg joins Skal members Tim McGuire of Segway Gibbon, Gill Dobson, Naphat Nutsati GM of Tamarind Village and President Annette Kunagigon at the registration desk.

By Shana Kongmun
The beautiful 137 Pillars House Hotel hosted the July Skal meeting held on July 25, 2013 with General Manager and Skal member Manfred Ilg as host.
Following on from the previous meeting’s cultural theme held at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center which was a talk on textiles of Thailand, the speaker at 137 Pillars House was noted museologist Rebecca Weldon Sithiwong. She was the curator with the Mae Fah Luang Foundation at Rai Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai, an ethnographic museum funded by the T.A.T. Currently she is working on the Prince Mahidol Museum Project and is also Convenor of the Informal Northern Thai Group which offers lectures by academic researchers working in the area. Rebecca grew up in Laos, studied anthropology and museology in Europe and has lived in Thailand for over 30 years. She was honored by the U.S. Consulate General as American of the Month for her work as part of the celebrations marking 180 years of Thai – U.S. friendship. John Henderson, her friend and guest, ably assisted Rebecca in her presentation.

Annette chats with Jerome Sim of Khum Phaya Resort and Spa, Jaffee Yee of Ni Hao Magazine and speaker Rebecca Wheldon Sitthiwong.

The Skal toast was given in English by Young Skal member Patrick Hennessey and in Thai by Manfred Ilg.
Rebecca then spoke on museums in Chiang Mai and Thailand and said that while such renowned places as the Louvre and the British Museum have many visitors, the museums in Chiang Mai are not well known and not publicized. She noted that while the Louvre receives around 8% of all visitors and the British Museum a whopping 20%, the Chiang Mai National Museum receives 100,000 visitors out of approximately 2 million visitors to Chiang Mai annually.
She noted that the National Museum is but one of several projects funded by the Fine Arts Department in Chiang Mai, others include the royal burial sites at Wat Suan Dok, Wiang Khum Kham, archaeological projects in San Patong and conservation of the moat at Chiang Saen.
Rebecca said that museums have three main goals; preservation, education and community. Tourism resources such as museums and historical sites belong to all and should be conducted with respect to cultural and archaeological heritage. Tourism should allow for traditional and cultural products to survive and thrive. Rebecca pointed out that there is a nationwide anthropological database that is being translated into English for cultural visitors at, the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropological Centre.

Genial host Manfred Ilg chats with Lamorna Cheesman of Studio Naenna, last month’s speaker on Thai textiles, new Young Skal member Patrick Hennessey and Joachim Koller of the Dining Guide.

The guests enthusiastically applauded the excellent service from staff and Resident Manager K. Ura as well as the delicious meal and dessert from Chef Supot. 137 Pillars House has just started a happy hour special of two drinks for the price of one from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
The next Skal dinner will be held at the Rati Lanna Resort and Spa on Thursday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Vice Consul Marc Miller will be speaking on Thai politics. Please register online at www.skalchiangmai .com. Email reservations will not be accepted.

John Rees, John Morgan, Lamorna Cheesman, and Joanna MacLean of Colour Factory share a laugh during the cocktail hour.

The group photo of all guests and members for the July Skal meeting.

Sohoites celebrate two more years

Shauna (in yellow and Krathai (in gold) enjoy the well wishes of their friends.

By Shana Kongmun
Although Soho Bar and Guesthouse has been around for many years, owners Shauna and Krathai are new to the business, or perhaps not so new now that they have passed the two year mark quite successfully.
A renovation of the bar area and rooms, along with Shauna’s compassionate care and Krathai’s bubbly personality have not only retained regulars it has also brought in new fans and friends. A large crowd gathered for the party at Soho on Thursday, August 1, 2013.
A Louisiana native, Shauna served some of her signature fare including a delicious gumbo and a champagne toast was made while the gathered crowd sang happy birthday for the celebration of their second anniversary at Soho. A great time was had by all as many reminisced over their first time at the bar and of the first time they met Shauna and Krathai. (All photos courtesy of [email protected])

The evening was lively as people enjoyed champagne and gumbo!

Aye and Wouter celebrate with Shauna and Krathai for the evening.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Everyday life in photography

Swiss residents meet for National Day

Elegant 137 Pillars House hosts Skalleagues

Sohoites celebrate two more years