Beggars are common place in Bangkok. More than once I’ve seen a woman with folds of skin hanging from her face. I assume she is afflicted with the same disease as ‘the elephant man’. It’s hard not to stare but I look away. Her cup is full from the generosity of those who gave in exchange for a long look at her.
Asian women ages 18 to 40 years old fill the streets of Bangkok. Many are on the arm of a foreign man (Westerner) who is usually more than twenty years older and, generally, unattractive. The women speak at least a little English and try hard to be alluring. There are twice as many women as men. Competition is tight.
The train station usually has travelers with mats on the floor, who are waiting for delayed departures. Families members traveling together sit, chat, eat and sleep while waiting. The scene is not un-friendly, nor are those, sitting on the floor unhappy. After all, Thai people LIKE to sit on the floor.
My eyes fall on a disheveled man, about 40, who is sleeping (or passed out) unaware of the scene around him. There is a half-full pint of whiskey, tucked in the pocket of his jeans.
With a camera I feel like an artist-observer of life, asking, “Can I capture this image that captured me?” The ‘story’ behind what I see comes to mind, but it’s a story I’ve made up. How do I really know? Some photographs are too personal. The photographer is an invader, a thief stealing into another’s life.
The people and scenes are compelling. But more and more, I question my own motivation to ‘publish’ these very intimate photographs. Some ‘pictures’ should be remembered with a prayer of love.