To understand how the Taking it Personal Thai street photographers exhibition is pushing the genre into new, interesting directions, you need to understand what makes street photography so special in the first place.
There are many photography genres that continue to grow — especially as photography becomes more available to people worldwide.
These added opportunities and new voices mean that not only are new genres being formed, but old ones are being transformed.
So let's look over some of the common forms of photography today.
Documentary photography strives to capture events and places as they are. Documentarians might try to document historical events as they happen or get those candid views of everyday life. This genre includes photojournalism, but practitioners can also create documentary photography for artistic or academic purposes.
Abstract photography is a very exciting use of fine art photography principles. Rather than trying to represent reality directly, abstract photographers find views that focus purely on form, colour, or some other feature. When looking at these works, you might not recognise anything from the real world. These mirror the viewing experience of other forms of abstract art, encouraging the viewer to bring part of their understanding of the work.
Conceptual photography highlights and makes the conversation about ideas. Sometimes, this means staging elements to represent a concept. Almost always, the photographer will have the idea in mind before they begin.
Street photography is perhaps the freest form of the medium. The street stands in opposition to the control and strictures of the studio. That means that street photographers not only take photos of the world around as it happens but also often embrace values of free expression and strive to capture spur-of-the-moment inspiration.
Conceptual Street Photography
Of course, most photographers work in one style. If they work in multiple genres, they will typically try one at a time. But the fusion of genres is often where incredible discoveries can be made.
Street photographers are beginning to blur the lines between their work and conceptual photography. They are transforming their genre by introducing the goal of communication ideas, but they are doing this without manipulating and controlling the shoot environment intricately.
This new boundary-breaking approach brings us to three Thai photographers leading the charge into this brave new crossover style.
Taking it Personal: a Stunning New Bangkok Street Photographers Exhibition
The new exhibition Taking in Personal brings together three street photographers who are interrogating the world through conceptual street photography - turning this style into a way to comprehend and critique the changes riven through their society.
By merging deep introspection into their art of photographic discovery, they bring the personal into intimate connection with the social. The connections they find revel the photographer's own identities, their societal context, and the living reality of history as it continues to create today.
Born in Bangkok in 1979, Akkara Naktamna became a self-taught photographer in 2008 to seek and find the meaning of his surroundings.
He co-founded Street Photo Thailand in 2012, and he is a selected finalist in several street photography competitions, including Miami Street Photography Festival 2013, Singapore Photo Festival 2016, and Photo Bangkok Festival 2015-2018.
His 2016 zine Signs as well as his solo exhibition were collected by Franklin Furnance Archive and MoMa Library as part of the Anamorphosis Prize. Akkara was nominated for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass by Manit Sriwanichpoom in 2020.
Akkara continues to be a presence in photographic publishing, creating the e-magazine CTypeMag and creating a who’s-who list of contemporary Thai photographers titled 99 Thai Photographers.
Rammy Narula is a Bangkok-native street and portrait photographer. He took up photography full time after a 14-year career in commodity trading. His oeuvre is mostly generated through his long hours spent roaming the cities he visits on his travels.
He recently released a photography book Platform 10 through Peanut Press. His work was also included in 100 Great Street Photographs released by Prestel in May 2017.
Rammy is a member of Street Photo Thailand collective where he serves part-time as a mentor and hosts several workshops every year. He also occasionally judges photographic competitions, including the Street London Symposium and London Street Photography Festival.
Rammy runs the photography blog Rambles, and regularly contributes to Siam Street Nerds, the largest street photography blog in Thailand. He’s the Administrator and Curator of the Flickr group Hardcore Street Photography.
Puvadol (Nong) Saengvichien is a Bangkok photographer born and raised in Samut Prakan. He earned his bachelor degree in Architecture and an MBA in Marketing. Puvadol left behind an 18-year long career in architecture and retail and product management to pursue photography full time.
He travels the world, creating incredible photo art along the way, as well as participating in photography workshops and making sojourns with other emerging photographers.
How to Attend Taking it Personal
Taking it Personal is hosted by CTypeMag Gallery, established in Bangkok in 2021. This photo gallery highlights the work of unknown photographers from around the globe.
1. Come with BTS to Phra Khanong st., out at Exit 4
2. Walk through Soi Sukhumvi 46 around 200 m. and across the road to Soi Phum Chit
3. Take a motorbike 10 baht, get off after 7-11 or walk around 400 m. to the gallery
Taking it Personal opened Saturday, March 6, 2021. It runs till March 28.