Everyday life in photography
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.
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.
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.”
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.
photographer Michael Sakamoto and his subject, performer Waewdao Sirisook.
Swiss residents meet for National Day
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 http://sac.or.th/en/, the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
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 Morgan, Lamorna Cheesman, and Joanna MacLean of Colour Factory share a
laugh during the cocktail hour.
photo of all guests and members for the July Skal meeting.
two more years
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!
Wouter celebrate with Shauna and Krathai for the evening.