In addition to having a Thai flavour, a common theme of the collection is the “pursuit of happiness”, which is one of the three “unalienable rights” in the United States of America’s Declaration of Independence* and a key principle of Buddhism. That such superficially conflicting forces of capitalism and religion share the same destination suggests the path to happiness may not be straightforward, and short cuts may be counterproductive.
Although Thailand is a welcoming, tolerant and spiritual place, Bangkok provides abundant opportunities for hedonism. So, like the Yin-Yang, the “City of Angels” is a centre of energy, within which contrary but complementary forces co-exist. Those who deviate from the true path may, after a period of trial and error, reach the same conclusion as William Blake, who wrote “The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom”**. In short, the collection represents a visual journey: from Hedonism to Buddhism in Bangkok.
* The Declaration of Independence, adopted on the 4th of July 1776, states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
** “The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom” is a proverb from the book, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”, written by William Blake in 1793.
“Sexuality” is a collection of photographs, which explores themes of beauty and gender in Thai society.
While Thailand is renowned for the beauty of its female population, the collection challenges viewers to consider sexual attraction on a less superficial level with the “Skin Deep” series. Similarly, “Pretty Vacant” implies that a beautiful body is not necessarily matched with a beautiful mind. Nevertheless, physical attraction between the sexes is a necessary requirement for reproduction and a natural consequence of evolution. Beauty is therefore celebrated with “Eye Candy” and “Foxy Lady”.
Thailand is also renowned for transsexuals, whom Thais regard as “phed tee saam” (the third gender) or “phu ying pra phet song” (a second kind of woman). The high prevalence of transsexuals in Thailand may pervert traditional expectations of gender, a concept which is represented in “Yin-Yang” and “Metamorphosis”.