Photography Cinema

Ekkarat Punyatara: Fading Away

Image Maker
Ekkarat Punyatara
Based in Bangkok, Ekkarat PUNYATARA is a photo editor and the staff photographer for National Geographic Thailand. His photography is inspired by a fascination in Thai culture rooted in him since childhood within a conservative family. He gained recognition in 2011 for the controversial photography project It’s Personal, a year-long documentation of a group of Thai monks living in New York; the project questions the traditional, conservative way of perceiving Buddhism in Thailand. Beside taking on worldwide assignments as an outsider, Punyatara can be found in his home country revealing and raising awareness of social issues as an insider through photography.
Place of Origin


In the era when colonialism symbolised greatness, the Kingdom of Siam, the Indochinese centre of commerce at the time, was surrounded by European colonies and inevitably became the buffer zone between British, French and Dutch territories. In order to prevent Siam from any invasion and colonialism, King Rama V pushed progressive policies to build and strengthen the nation in his National Development Plan (from 1961). Since then, Siam has become Thailand and remains the only uncolonised country in Southeast Asia; evidence and symbols of its Nation-Building era can still be found.

Fading Away is a personal project documenting the grief and sadness expressed by the Thai people through a year-long mourning following the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) in 2016. As a Thai myself, I have witnessed how Thai people feel towards his death. This project contains a poetic reflection on the historical evidence of the Nation-Building era, also on the admiration and respect for someone of high status, which seems a little bit out of place in our contemporary democracy.

This is a part of my search and effort to archive evidence of anti-colonialism through Thailand.

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