In Septembers issue of Geographical, Magazine of the Royal Geographical Society in the UK, saw the publishing of my story on Bang Kra Jao, one of Bangkok’s true hidden gems that even very few local Thais know of. The story was written by writer Ron Gluckman and shot by me over a series of trips to the area.
Bang Kra Jao can be viewed from Google Earth but appears only as a huge black void surrounded by grey. Almost an island apart from a thin strip that connects it to the land, this 4000 hectare area is a maze of canals, jungle, fruit farms and traditional wooden houses on stilts. The only way of traveling through Bang Kra Jao is by foot or bike on narrow raised concrete walkways which replaced the traditional was of moving around by boat.
Across the Chao Praya River that curls around the Bang Kra Jao is Bangkok city proper and the mass of development that is commonplace in one of the worlds great metropolis. Through the dense mangroves you can see the towering skyscrapers in the distance.
How Bang Kra Jao survived development is remarkable and how long it will stay like this is anyones guess but for now it remains a wonderful escape from the madness that is Bangkok.
For a full selection of images visit www.lukeduggleby.com.
The Saturday-Sunday August 7 European edition of the International Herald Tribune that published one of the portraits of Thet Sambath (top) I shot last week whilst on assignment for the newspaper. Well deserved is Thet in getting one of the main stories about his 7 year project to confront Brother No.2.
Yesterday I met a remarkable man. Over a period of seven years Thet Sambath befriended and interviewed many of the people responsible for the death of his closest family. And not just lower ranking Khmer Rouge fighters but Brother No.2 Nuon Chea who is the next member of the Khmer Rouge elite to be tried by the War Crimes Tribunal. Using clips from the filming of over 1000 interviews, Thet, with the help of British filmakter Rob Lemkin, produced a movie called “Enemies of the State” that has just premiered in New York and honoured at the Sundance Festival.
I shot his portrait for the International Herald Tribune, and also appeared in print on page A5 of the New York edition, in paddy fields on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. 95% of his interviews of that seven year period were conducted in remote villages and paddy fields. Thet told me that during that time he would stand for hours in the muddy water of the paddies interviewing rice farmers.
What Thet accomplished is truely remarkable. He sold his house and land to fund his trips that would last for days in the remote western region of Cambodia before returning to Phnom Penh to work for a local english language newspaper. For every month he had enough money for two weeks of food for himself and his family. Yet despite the hardship something drove him, call it an obsession or the want for closure , to discover the truth about what the Khmer Rouge did to his family and other Cambodians.
I will be traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, between the 6th and 10th of August shooting a portrait for the International Herald Tribune and some PR shots for the Mekong Sessions’ up and coming Leonard Cohen concert.
Its not everyday you get the opportunity to photograph a Prime Minister. But on Monday 2nd thats exactly what I got the chance to do. I was asked to photograph Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Government House whilst he had an interview with three of the Wall Street Journal’s most senior editors and journalists, Patrick Barta (Bangkok-based Bureau Chief) Leigh Murray (WSJ Correspondent) and Almar Latour (Editor-in-Chief of WSJ Asia). Arriving an hour before the scheduled meeting inside Bangkok’s equivalent of the White House we set up the positioning of the interview, lights and cameras and waited for his arrival.
For 45 minutes he answered their questions giving me plenty of time to get the portrait shots I needed despite having to shoot through three interviewees, a camer man and a stationary subject.
You can read the article on www.wsj.com.