back in bangkok for a look at the earth!

I have to be honest, despite the tag line “land of smiles” the immigration people in Thailand don’t hold a candle to the helpful and friendly officials at Fukuoka airport. It doesn’t matter how pleasant you are in saying hello or Saswasdee Kap, they don’t even look at you at Suvarnabhum airport immigration, much less return the greeting. And then there is the gauntlet of authorized and unofficial taxi services. I guess it’s the same thing in Bali for foreigners. Ironically, the more succesful a place is as a tourist destination it seems the less friendly people get. ——–Anyway back in Bangkok (where people really are friendly!) in time to catch the opening Yann Artus Bertrand’s breathtaking exhibit on the state of the earth outside the Zen/Central world department store Tuesday evening. It’s great to see the images big and Yann is in usual enthusiastic form despite just having landed from Paris that morning. All the girls (including McCann’s Monica White and Credit Suisse’s Paworamon Suvarnatemee) make a beeline: myp11.jpgSigh…. Yann cracks “too bad it wasn’t like this 20 years ago when I was younger!!” We finally get to dinner, where after a boisterous hour the jet lag finally catches up with him. ——–Tonight, Wednesday, he is giving another talk at the Foreign Correspondents Club. Despite all the hoopla Yann is definitely pushing a positive agenda: do something for the earth now. He is flying off to Paris right after the talk to be there for earth day to announce a brand new project which will reach many people. Meanwhile Marie Claude Millet finally takes a stab at photography (after years of publishing photo books with her husband Didier ) along with Yann’s sister Catherine: mc-n-cthrn.jpgAs to work, I have to say that one of the downsides of digital photography, which otherwise is wonderful in its interactivity, speed, latitude etc, is the amount of time in post production. I need to attend a super work flow workshop! For every day of shooting I seem to spend half a day editing and working on RAW files. Help!!! In the meantime my very Gallic editor at the On Asia digital photo agency, Olivier Nilsson, is being as patient as besieged French man can be, walking me thru everything. At one point, exasperated, he skypes back in French: “there are 60 other photogs who are asking for my exclusive and urgent attention..” I shut up and go back to editing and captioning. ——–Tonight, at the FCCT Yann’s film and presentation draws a lot of positive response. It is something to really think about, to turn one’s profession and capacity into something a bigger than oneself, and as a photographer it is inspiring to see how he has used the medium to get across an important message, and in a relatively striaghtforward way without becoming “a priest” as he put it. yann1.jpgIn response to a series of questions about the presentation of facts and how they can be ‘adjusted’ to one’s purpose, and if any of this really will change people entrenched in their comforts, Yann talked about how images can touch the heart in such a way that an automatic change comes into one’s way of being. He cited examples in his own life, how after seeing things he changed his behaviour automatically. This is pretty much the real heart of photojournalism. ——–Another positive note tonight, for me at least, is that Obama has come out on top. As an Asian, I think many of us are excited that he might make it to the White House. He does represent a real possibility of change in the relationship between the US and Southeast Asia specifically, and of course the rest of the world. But imagine, an American President who has lived in Indonesia in his childhood! obama.jpg Lets hope that Americans vote smart…

2 Responses to “back in bangkok for a look at the earth!”

  1. doko2

    A country of SMILE.?Rio-san, you are back in Thailand. Do you miss Kyushu? (Miyazaki & Fukuoka)
    We have a sunshine day after one-week-long rainy days. Obama finally won the long lasted primary.
    What will be the next step of Hillary Clinton? I hope she would behave in accordance with statemanship.
    Yesterday I met with 6 students, all of them had own vision to realize and I will be grateful if they could
    make their dreams come true.

    One sad news Miyazaki ranked second worst in suicide rate 32.1 per 100,000 people. Akita placed the worst.
    Why? Such a nice place? Maybe there is no job in Miyazaki.


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