A thesis is an important part of the coursework for university students, presenting an opportunity for them to work on a topic of interest and use their knowledge and skills to complete the work.
HOP - Hub Of Photography is now showcasing "Emerge: Photo Thesis Exhibition", which assembles 50 photography student theses from the past two academic years from 12 universities in Thailand. The exhibition offers a wide range of photographs including a journalistic documentary, still life and fashion.
"Thesis is a project that develops students' ideas and is the first step for students to showcase and further develop their abilities before stepping into their career as professional artists. Aside from photographs, students had to submit their project concept. In each project, students conducted research and came up with their own narrative. Background research is as important as the end result. We intend to organise a thesis exhibition annually and this may encourage photography students to see the importances of their theses," said Sirima Chaipreechawit, creative and managing director of HOP.
155 by Peerapon Boonthep.
Lilith by Jetketkarn Taikaew.
Theerachat Potisit, also a creative and managing director of HOP, said the gallery aims to be a centre for photographers, providing a link with photography enthusiasts, so HOP is on the lookout for emerging artists and new graduate students.
"We want photography students to have an opportunity to exhibit their projects, so people in the art, photography and advertising industries can see their works. This will help students to get a head start in their professional careers and be seen by potential employers," said Theerachat.
"Most theses exhibit at the universities or some galleries, but we wanted a wider range of audience to view the students' work. While students have an opportunity to showcase their works at HOP, people in the photography industry can see students' trends and movements at the exhibition," said Sirima.
After going through over 100 theses, 50 were selected for display at the HOP Photo Gallery and Whoop!. Other theses were transformed into digital format and displayed on a TV screen at HOP. The HOP members discovered students are interested in issues of inequality and LGBTI.
"Art reflects current issues. Since some social issues affect these young photographers, they decided to express those. Many students from Chiang Mai are concerned encroaching spaces and urban changes. Buildings have been developed in what used to be abandoned spaces. This means students in Chiang Mai see rapid changes in the city. In their theses, some students depict urban change while others try to find their own space. Also, many students depict depression, which is an issue that many people of this generation encounter," said Sirima.
Sirima Chaipreechawit, left, and Theerachat Potisit serve as creative and managing directors at HOP.
Human Micraesthic by Surangkana Mayoo.
"LGBTI is a global trend and the marriage equality bill was approved at the first reading in Parliament this year. The young generation is interested in gender diversity. Since they are finding themselves, acceptance is another issue that they struggle with, so they express their experiences through art. I also see many students work on their personal projects that depict their own lives," said Theerachat.
Committee members who selected theses for the exhibition include Tul Hirunyalawan, president of the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand; Piyatat Hemmatat, director of Photo Bangkok Festival; Surachai Puthikulangkura, founder of Illusion CGI Studio; Jongsuwat Angsuvarnsiri, managing director of SAC Gallery; and three HOP staff, who together counted as one vote.
"I look at the concept first and then consider visual impact. Some students created simple photos, but their statements are excellent and are appropriate for their photos, so I chose those theses," said Theerachat.
Sirima said that she especially appreciates conceptual photographs, while Theerachat prefers unusual photos that can amaze him with technique and content.
Each year, hundreds of students graduate with a photography degree, but only a few will end up working as a professional photographer.
"The photography industry is not big. To become a professional photographer requires five factors -- fame, connections, experience, work quality and uniqueness. Creating one photo collection requires high investment and exhibiting in a gallery does not guarantee the photographer will earn enough income to make a living," said Theerachat.
Sirima added: "I have no idea what is wrong with our education system because students can choose what they want to study, but almost all students end up working in other fields. In this era, having only a photography skill may not be enough because most students are multi-skilled."
Inside ‘Emerge: Photo Thesis Exhibition’.
Family by Sorapoom Konkhong.
HOP's executives have high expectations for the "Emerge: Photo Thesis Exhibition", which has been well reviewed.
"It is rare to see students' theses in the mainstream media, but the exhibition has been previewed there and we are pleased. There will be more activities and workshops at HOP to support these young photographers," said Theerachat.
"Some photos are excellent and they caught the eye of brand representatives who asked for information about the students. We are glad that we can help them to connect," said Sirima.
"We all want to discover emerging artists and introduce them to the industry. Young artists should create their own work. While working on and developing their photos, they should present their work on free platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and websites. Then, they should email galleries including firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, they need to send us a link to their portfolios."
"Emerge: Photo Thesis Exhibition" runs at HOP - Hub Of Photography, Seacon Square, until Sept 11. Admission is free. For more information, visit facebook.com/hubofphotographybangkok.