Tourists often come to the Kingdom armed with heavy camera gear and return home after a week or two with hundreds or thousands of photographs from one of the most photogenic countries on Earth. They are a common, accepted feature at many temples and sights. A similar, but less represented institution is the army of Thai photographers _ professionals, aspiring amateurs and snapshot tourists _ who now travel the world recording their impressions.
In June, Lonely Planet Magazine Thailand and Canon held a photo contest, "The Incredible Journey", with prizes worth 200,000 baht, to sift through some of the best of these images and encourage people to travel more often.
Judges included Chiranan Pitpreecha, renowned writer and poet; Waranun Chutchawantipakorn, National Artist for photography; Athit Perawongmetha, veteran freelance photographer for AFP; and Luke Duggleby, internationally renowned freelance news photographer.
Criteria for judging comprised 25% for creativity, 20% for composition, 15% for light and shadow, and 40% for ensemble components.
The magazine called the resulting mountain of entries an excellent testimonial to contemporary travelling and modern lifestyle by some of the most talented young Thai photographers, and it was a difficult task to whittle them down to two dozen finalists.
Now the works of the winners and finalists are being exhibited at Le Meridien Bangkok in an exhibition called "A New Perspective on Photography: The Incredible Journey to the New Horizon", until the end of November.
The venue allows visitors to see the competition's winning entry, Ice Blue Cave, taken in Jokulsarlon, Iceland, by businessman Prasit Deesilprakij, 51. First runner-up was freelance photographer Jirachon Chamsang, 38, whose Sandstorm at Bromo was taken at Mount Bromo volcano in Indonesia.
The popular vote winner was 28-year-old pilot Teerawat Sumrantin with The Colours of Salzburg taken in Salzburg, Austria. Another notable work was The light in the Sahara Desert by Ruetairat Puangkaew, who spoke at the exhibition opening.
"A New Perspective" is a series of cultural events, exhibitions and talks on contemporary culture hosted by the hotel chain and facilitated by Jerome Sans, Le Meridien's cultural curator.
Rathsiam Sinlakhun, editor-in-chief of Lonely Planet Magazine Thailand, said the annual photo contest affirmed the magazine's commitment to inspire the general public to travel more often both for themselves and to allow friends and families to experience these places vicariously.
"I hope that we could support young talents and the community to see and learn new angles of travelling and photography," he said. "There were more than 800 entrants. It was a great challenge for our judges as there were so many beautiful photos to choose from. Each of the 24 final works possessed distinctive features and beauty. I would like to invite all travellers who love photo shooting to submit photographs to next year's contest."
'A New Perspective on Photography: The Incredible Journey to the New Horizon' shows until Nov 30 at the Hub, Le Meridien Bangkok lobby, Surawong Road, 7.30am to 10pm daily.
About the author
- Writer: Ezra Kyrill Erker