Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rearview Portrait

Behind the wheel of every Bangkok taxi is a driver who has to face daily challenges and personal tribulations. Waiting for passengers and green lights must be boring, sitting in traffic jams can be extremely frustrating, and worrying about making enough profit from fares day in and day out can undoubtedly create ongoing anxiety. To make matters worse, many taxi drivers in Bangkok are homesick as many of them leave their families and villages upcountry to find work in the big city. The driver's visages reflected in their rearview mirrors have recently become the focus of many of my photos. It is yet another way to attempt to understand Bangkok from the passenger seat. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the Mix

"Thai style" often involves an unlikely combination of things that typically don't go together. Thais are experts at taking incongruous elements and blending them together to suit their personal taste, all the while keeping in mind the principle of harmony. Even though this still life on the taxi dashboard includes an unusual mix of creatures, together these plastic, glass, and ceramic figures with a few metallic accents somehow form a well-balanced grouping.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Aliens of Thailand

In Thailand, the word for foreigner is farang which refers to the Franks, the people that once ruled much of Western Europe. It's obvious that this moniker is extremely outdated. A more suitable word for foreigner is alien and I believe that Thailand should adopt this term, as well, especially since Thais already know that word. It more aptly describes the kinds of peculiar creatures who land here from faraway lands with intentions of exploring a new world and in some cases, plundering the country. Anyway, some Thais apparently think that both foreigners and aliens are charming. Take this extraterrestrial being on the sticker in the taxi, for example. It reminds me of some of the foreigners you see in Thailand complete with a sunburn and sweat dripping off the forehead.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Thai Tattoos in the Taxi

Never mind the sacred yan monk drawings that were on the ceiling of this taxi, the driver himself was covered from the neck down with traditional Thai sak yant tattoos.  According to the cabby, he received them when he was ordained as a Buddhist monk many years ago, and he believes that they have protected him from harm multiple times in his life. He also mentioned that they give him the confidence he needs to drive a taxi in this city filled with too many vehicles and a profusion of crazy drivers on the road.