Index World Press Photo
August 2009 | Edition Twelve     

Risky Bangkok is the title of an on-going documentary being put together by 43-year-old Vinai Dithajohn, a Bangkok-based photojournalist represented by the On Asia Photo Agency.

Award-winner Vinai, who attended a World Press Photo workshop in Jakarta in 2002, has had work published in Time Magazine, The International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post and National Geographic Magazine.

“The documentary reveals the nocturnal world of Thai youth engaged in risky behavior on the lesser-known side streets in Bangkok, the City of Angels.

The photos are shot in a style as fleeting as the subjects, portraying a half-seen glimpse into young Thais living on the edge; a gang of teenage guys finding identity in motorbike racing gangs, a sex worker wrangling with a drunk client on a dimly lit corner, a transvestite smoking drugs on a hot strip of foil, a military policeman shouting at a group of students face down on a sidewalk after being arrested for brawling."

"These elusive images of social outcasts, rebels and thrill seekers uncover a jagged piece of reality seen through the lens -- just enough to provoke the viewer into wondering what the story is that remains in the shadowy truth between light and dark,” continues Vinai.

Shot with a Canon 20D DSLR and a G9 super-compact using available light from passing cars and street lamps, the muted colors of peeling buildings set against faces partially covered in harsh black give the photos a quality reminiscent of the film noir style.

“Light is the tool of every photographer,” concludes Vinai. “But I was drawn to step into the darkness to discover what I wasn’t seeing. I became part of the subjects’ scene to try and capture their pride, isolation and human character.”
Copyright © 2009, all rights reserved by the photographers