After nearly three years online and on YouTube and twenty years in Thailand, talking about life here has become increasingly more difficult. Perhaps this is why I prefer taking photos as opposed to talking. Ever have a friend who does nothing but talk about their relationship? How good it is, how bad it is, how much they love the person, how much they hate them and how much they need them? This is sort of how I feel about talking about Thailand. So...today's post is about what I like - photography and several of my favorite photographers.
But first, when a guy writes in slamming those who come to Thailand to be with younger women, I feel the need to speak up. If there's one thing I can do without, it's some judgmental American whining about how the only reasons men come to Thailand is for the younger women.
To paraphrase, "The men who go to Thailand can't get women back home."
While this may be true for some men, it certainly isn't for all. The main point being, so what if a man is with a much younger women and so what if they don't want or can't get women back in their home country? Sounds like a hater to me - or someone with jealous tendencies.
Moving on...to the photography...
Photographers are a dime a dozen, especially with the advent of digital photography. Great photographers are capable of churning out one great photograph after another. Their photos reach parts of us not often reached and force us to do a double-take. The following three photographers are among my favorites, all for difference reasons.
Don McCullin is a tough, grizzled, old school photographer who became the photographer and person he is today because of his determination and ceaseless desire to learn. Look at his body of work and it quickly becomes apparent he has been around the block. For fifty years he covered conflict zones around the world, the last time in Syria at 77 years of age.
Between photographing conflicts, McCullin photographed The Beatles and documented the urban strife in England. All of his work that I have seen is always in black and white. Always. McCullin now abhors the title, War Photographer and he now spends his waning years photographing the English landscape. Despite his success, McCullin feels his conflict photographs were largely a failure, making little difference in the world. Wars still rage on and atrocities still continue unabated.
Both of the videos shown below are excellent, however it is both interesting and somewhat comical to see McCullin learning about digital photography after using film for so many years. Take the time to sit down with some popcorn or a stiff drink and enjoy.
Interview with McCullin
What I love about Steve McCurry is his work. I honestly do not believe I have ever seen a photographer with so many spectacular photographs. This is no exaggeration. Take a look to his website and you'll find one mind-blowing photograph after another. Perhaps this is why Kodak chose McCurry to shoot the last roll of Kodachrome film.
McCurry has covered the Afghan war with the Soviets, the Iran-Iraq war, the Lebanese Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines, the Gulf War, and the Afghan Civil War. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986.
His iconic photo of The Afghan Girl (Sharbat Gula) taken in 1984 is now recognized as a unique historical photo and is the most recognized photograph in National Geographic's history. In 2002, McCurry went back to Afghanistan to see if he could find out what had become of The Afghan Girl. Below is the video of the incredible search.
Michael Christopher Brown is the youngest of the three photographers I chose to feature. Nevertheless, he has already been featured on HBO, published by National Geographic and Time Magazine, and is now a Magnum Photos nominee. Brown came to my attention when I read how, after his camera broke, he photographed Libya with his iPhone - and then had his photos published in Time. One on of his journeys to Libya, Brown was wounded with his fellow journalists (and another one of my favorites) Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros who were killed. He photographed Jane Goodall and now spends much of his time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Michael Christopher Brown
NY Times - Jane Goodall