From our global reporters
In part one, Sam and Jessie talk to Sarot Meksophawannakul about his career as a news photographer. Tomorrow, he describes three of his photo shoots.
Sarot Meksophawannakul says he knew he wanted to be a photojournalist long before he came to the Bangkok Post. Photo: Terry Fredrickson
Khun Sarot: News Photographer
Sarot in a night shoot at a collapsed building.
“When everyone runs out, we have to run in.” That is how Bangkok Post photographer Sarot Meksophawannakul describes his job. In his 13 years at the Bangkok Post, this has often put him in danger but it has also resulted in some great photos. He studied journalism and photography in university, because he had always known that he wanted to be a photojournalist; he started shooting photos when he was 14 years old. Last Thursday, we had a chance to sit down with man behind the pictures and ask him about his career, his photos, and his experiences.
Jessy: Do you always have your camera with you?
Sarot: Our cameras have become a part of our bodies. If we see something and we don’t have the camera, it’s like we have no soul.
Sam: What would you say is your most exciting moment after all the years you have been taking photos?
Sarot: Last year was the most dangerous for me because the protesters were using real weapons and bombs during the riots. It was very difficult to work because we didn’t know where a bullet might be coming from, or where a bomb might be exploding.
Sam: How do you feel about that?
Sarot: I was afraid, but it’s my job. When everyone runs out, we have to run in. Photographers have to help and take care of each other. We went to places as a crew, and came back to the guesthouse together. And at night, we counted the sound of the explosions and rifles being fired and we couldn’t go out because we didn’t know who might be out there.
Jessy: What helped you get through that situation?
Sarot: We had to stay in the red zone; we couldn’t move out and I had a duty to take care of our friends. At that time, I took underwear, socks and T-shirts and some food to my friends, and we stayed for around 5 days at Silom road.
Sam (left) and Jessy were fascinated by Sarot’s stories
Jessy: Did you witness anyone dying or being injured?
Sam (left) and Jessy were fascinated by Sarot’s stories
Sarot: Yes. An M-79 bomb exploded near the soldiers and us. We had to help carry of a soldier’s body out because the he was right where the bomb exploded. My friend, a reporter, was there and he got hurt from the explosion. We had to carry all of them out. We didn’t know where it came from, but we know that if it had come near, we would have died for sure. It was very bad because everybody fighting was Thai.
Jessy: What are your main challenges in your career?
Sarot: Being a Bangkok Post photographer is different from most of the other newspapers. We have to do everything; we have to do news, business, sports, and features. Now we also shoot videos and do multimedia; we have to do many things as photographers. For example, today someone will cover the political scene and tomorrow he will do sports. It’s a good thing though because we have to constantly adapt.
Sam: How would you describe a good photo?
Sarot: The model of the news is like an upside-down pyramid, but the model of a photo is the opposite. The best photo is at the top of the pyramid. Just one point can explain the whole story.. That’s why we have to think about the point of the event and wait to get the right photo. Sometimes we have to wait for a long time for just one photo.
Sam: Can you think of an example of a moment in which you had to wait for a photo?
Sarot: For politics, a good photo happens when two powerful figures come together. We wait until they do. For example, one day Yingluck may win the upcoming election but her party may need another party to join. We are not sure exactly when the leaders will come together and we have to wait.
Sam: What would you say is your best photo? Are there any in particular that you like?
Sarot: I love every event that I cover. I think I try to do my best, and I try to report how the people suffer and tell the public about their suffering. I mostly cover disaster news such as floods, tsunamis or the landslides from the rain. I just try to convey in photos how the people are suffering.
Sam: What is your favourite part of the job?
Sarot: We can help someone who doesn’t have the chance, or the opportunity. We can tell the authorities, the government about the peoples’ problems, such as poverty. That is the basic reason I chose this job.
bullet – a small, metal object that is shot from a gun กระสุนปืน
crew – a group of people who work together to do a job กลุ่มคนที่ทำงานร่วมกัน
rifle – a large gun with a long barrel that you hold against your shoulder to fire ปืนยาว, ปืนไรเฟิล
witness – to see something happen – มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
challenge – something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย
multimedia – using video, sound, and other methods of communication, especially in computers ซึ่งใช้สื่อหลายชนิดในคอมพิวเตอร์
adapt – to change something to suit different conditions or uses ทำให้เหมาะ, ทำให้เข้ากับ, ปรับ
pyramid – an organization or a system in which there are fewer things at each level as you get near the top; a solid shape with a square or triangular base and sloping sides that meet in a point at the top พีระมิด, รูปกรวยเหลี่ยม
opposite – a person or thing that is as different as possible from somebody/something else ตรงกันข้าม
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
upcoming – happening soon ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น
suffering – physical or mental pain or problems ความทุกข์ทรมาน
disaster – something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ
landslide – a mass of rock and earth moving suddenly and quickly down a steep slope แผ่นดินถล่ม
convey – to communicate something; to express a thought, feeling or idea so that it is understood by other people สื่อไปถึง, สื่อสาร
favourite – something you like the best of all similar things ที่ชอบมาก,ที่โปรดปราน
opportunity – a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something โอกาส
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
poverty – the condition of being extremely poor ความจน
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