Thailand's Portraits / by Dario Branco

If you know anything about me and the photography I like to make, you have noticed that I focused only on street photography during my time in Thailand. Sure, i did a few landscapes but nothing like i usually do.

At first, i thought about going to a few locations for landscapes. My idea was to go to the rice fields during sunset but once i realized that it was going to take more time then i wanted i decided to only do street photography and do landscapes from the places i was. Also, i didn't want to carry around my Canon 5D and all the stuff that comes with it. That is why i decided to take only the Fuji X100T with me for this trip.


Once i was committed to only take the X100T i started thinking of an idea i had a few years ago about making portraits of strangers, print them on the spot and give them to those people. For that, i had to get some kind of a portable printer or get a "Polaroid" camera. Since i wanted to keep the digital files i went for the first option and i was lucky to find an HP Sprocket in second hand a few days before the trip. Without bothering you with all the technical details, this wasn't my first option and the final printed image quality is not as good as i would have hoped.


Even with that downside, that wasn't the most import thing. I don't know how to put it into words the reactions from the persons when i gave them the print.

Since i arrived in Bangkok i was always looking for someone to photograph. At first, i was surprised how everyone was saying yes about being photographed. I had to be patient about deciding which photos to print otherwise i would finish in the first few days the twenty photos i could print. In the end i photographed more people then i was expecting. A lot more. 


I wish that people here in Portugal were a little more opened about being photographed but maybe is also my fault for not asking as much.

The best part about this, as i mention before, was to see the reactions of everyone i gave the photos to. All of them were surprised and always had a smile on their face when they were thanking me for giving them the print. It gave me a warm feeling knowing that, even if they don't care anymore about the photo or who took it, for a few moments i could make someone happy. One moment that i will remember for a long time was when i visited the Karen Hill Tribe and photographed an old lady, she was showing the photo to someone else and smiling. Or when i photographed a young girl playing outside the Bumrung Buri market she ran to her parents and they didn't stop smiling and thanking me. Those moments between while i took the photo and printing were also i good way to make conversation and get to know a little of the person i was photographing.


I still have a lot to travel. So far, this was the best experience i ever had. This time i did leave something of myself behind and i happy about it.


Now is time to give back to you.

I mention that i photographed more people that i was expecting. If you have been following along you probably noticed that. With that in mind, i created my first photography book. I was looking at the photos and i believe that the photos are good enough and convey not only my feelings but also the feelings of the Thai people. I have decided that i will send to all my subscribers, old and new, the digital version of the book for free. If you are already subscribed i will send you right away and for the new ones, all you have to do is subscribe to the blog. This is my way of thanking you for following. I hope to keep growing and hope to do more things like this. 


But you can always buy the real thing here. I know it is a little expensive but i think it will be an amazing coffee table book. In the future, i will be looking for other ways to sell the book but for now, this is the only option. Not only you will see the photos i printed but also all the amazing and nice people that allowed me to photograph them. I don't know how many more ways to say how surprised and grateful i am to them.


I hope you enjoy it as much as i enjoyed photographing it.

Sadly, for now, this is the end of my adventure in Thailand. Without a doubt, this was the best trip of my life and i will be back there to explore the places i didn't explore, photograph even more people and create even more books. The good thing is that it is time to move on and probably next time i will writing it will be from Switzerland. Very excited about that trip for different reasons. Stay tunned.