Land of Smiles is a quiet, surreal exploration of Thailand’s everyday architecture and landscapes.
I have spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand over the past five or so years (my wife is from Bangkok). Still, I remain an outsider and am fascinated by many aspects of the landscape that most Thais would never think twice about. The images featured here focus on the accidentally sculptural fluorescent bulb streetlights and nightscapes of rural Thailand.
Land of Smiles takes you on a walking tour in a dream-state. This is Thailand as few people will ever see it (especially in light of the political turmoil and chaos of the past decade).
— Chris Mottalini, Brooklyn, New York, USA
This series of photographs is born from my need to grant myself some moments in which to get out and explore the landscape in solitude for a few hours. Without a planned route or a clear destination, but with only the need for isolation and taking pictures, I always return to the same places over and over again by establishing a special relationship with them like a personal microcosm. The exploration and the relationship between place and memory become fundamental elements in the formation of a personal identity. The explored landscape is where I was born, grew up and in which I live: a part of the Padan Plains that extend from the countryside of “la bassa” (low plain) to the right banks of the River Po. In order to describe the different areas of land, I have adopted a distinctive look for each one. In the countryside I used tobacco sunset filters and as I get closer to the river the photos turn to a yellow-green color.
— Franco Monari, Modena, Italy
Unborn Cities is a body of work that explores the architectural structures and physical growth of new cities located in inner-mainland China. Unlike many Western cities that begin as small developments and grow in accordance to the local industries, gathering community and history as they age, these areas are built to the point of near completion before introducing people. Because of this, there is an interim period between the final phases of development and when the areas become noticeably populated, during which many of the buildings stand empty, waiting.
During this phase of development, sensationalist Western media often describes these areas as defunct “ghost cities,” which fails to recognize that they are built on an urban model, timeline, and scale that is unprecedented in speculation and simply unfamiliar to the methods of Western urbanization. Using large-scale photographs that look at the architecture and sites of development within these cities and “new areas,” I emphasize both the vast growth and physical scale of these spaces, making enigmatic images that reflect the shifted sense of reality felt in a city that has yet to be inhabited by the people it was built for; a city without a city (有城⽆市) that, at present, seems more like an architectural model than a place for living.
— Kai M. Caemmerer, Chicago, Illinois, USA
This is a story of Aberdeen, a personal and subjective impression of this northern city. Bounded by two river mouths, the North Sea and vast green stretches of land, it is often described as the Granite City, though others say it is silver. It is also the energy capital of Europe. The label I feel is the most accurate is the ‘Grey City’. A ubiquitous landscape has been created by the silver granite and a matching sky: this evokes an atmosphere of gloom. I cannot see the glamour as described by others; what I am attracted to are the things that are seemingly commonplace, things which many may see as unimportant and mundane. The silver remains but is becoming stained, a patina encroaching. I am an outsider and I see it as an outsider will, free from nostalgia, raw.
— Blazej Marczak, Aberdeen, Scotland
Consciousness is the key to escape geographical confinement. When one has no place, but permeates the Universe, the concepts of near and far away disappear.
Curiously, if we join the words “now” and “here”, the two pillars of the state of consciousness, we form the word “nowhere.”
— Angela Sairaf, Madrid, Spain