Chatchai's interview by BK Magazine
Posted by Street Photo Thailand - May 04, 2014 20:25
Street photography has long been considered a hobby rather than an art here in Thailand. But last year an avid bunch of photographers decided to start a proper group to nurture the practice under the name Street Photo ThailandBK chats to one of the founders, Chatchai Boonyaprapatsara, 48, about his passion and what makes good street photography so special.

How did the Street Photo Thailand group start?
It began with Noppadol Weerakitti and other street photographer friends. We noticed that there weren’t many street photo exhibitions, so we decided to make it happen. We wanted to be at the center of it all, a community for experts and youngsters to share and exchange work, techniques and ideas. The group’s been around for a year now.
What draws you to take pictures on the street?
I’ve been doing photography as a hobby for 30 years, but I just started taking street photos 6-7 years ago. I didn’t want to leave my creativity to gather dust after I quit being a graphic designer in the advertising industry. So I decided to try something new.

What makes street photography special?
Capturing a photo is like recording moments of society and turning them into history. Whatever is captured in public places can be called street photography. But by using your creativity, a picture can become something extraordinary. When taking street photos the challenge is in how to make the common things people see in their daily lives become interesting—how can you best capture the moment in the blink of an eye. 
What’s the future hold for Street Photo Thailand? 
In Facebook we hold a competition every week for people to send in their photos on a topic, which we collect as news on our website. We intend to hold an exhibition once a year or have our works displayed in exhibitions abroad. We’re going to have an exhibition in France soon, too.

What’s an unforgettable experience you’ve had on the streets?
One time I was so focused on taking a shot that I fell into a drain and sprained my ankle. But my most impressive shot would be one taken in Vietnam called “Good Afternoon” (above) where I snapped local men lying on the pavement in front of a huge golf course ad so it looked like they were on luxurious vacation. It’s pretty hilarious and ironic at the same time.
Do you always get a good reaction from people?
I just try to stay undercover as much as possible, be a typical tourist. But I try to keep on smiling in every situation. If you get caught out, just smile and delete the picture if they request it. 
How is the street photo community here?
It has grown noticeably bigger. But Thai people don’t wholly understand it. They think street photographs are just random “fluke” snapshots. But, in fact, it takes a lot of effort and time to observe and capture something at the right moment. When people recognize street photography as a form of art, it will become as prominent as other forms of photography. 
Where is your dream destination for shooting?
Istanbul or NYC, where there are so many stories to be told, and both new and old architecture. 


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