Series Lecture “Contemporary Design in Thailand”

Rediscovering Thai Masters of Photography (during 1950–1970) A Talk by Manit Sriwanichpoom



“Are there really no Thai photographers of ability whom we could rightly call ‘masters’, as they have in the West? Photography came to Siam back in 1845, towards the end of the Third Reign [King Nangklao or Rama 3 of the Bangkok era]. That’s around 173 years ago. Do we really have no masters in this discipline?” Manit Sriwanichpoom poses this question to himself before giving up on teaching photography at universities a decade ago. Wrestling with this problem led Manit to believe that as long as our photography academics do not seriously research and collect the work of Thai photographers of the past
to create our own text, then we would continue to have to “breathe air through the white man’s nose”. We would never in this way develop self-knowledge and self-worth. In 2010 Manit decided to launch a photographic research project called ‘Seeking Forgotten Thai Photographers’. In 5 years, he would be able to rediscover 7 Thai masters of photography of the period between 1950-1970. Currently Manit’s exhibition tour of ‘Rediscovering Thai Masters of Photography’ is running at NUS Museum, Singapore, until the end of March 2019. He will be sharing with members of Siam Society and public how important his discovery has been in changing the perception and knowledge of Thai photographic history and what we can learn from it.

Born in Bangkok, Manit Sriwanichpoom is one of Thailand’s leading photographers, and the best known in the international art world, having exhibited worldwide including in the Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2010), The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial (Australia, 2009), Photoquai (Paris, 2007), Gwangju Biennale (Korea, 2006), the Venice Biennale (2003) and Photo Espana (2001). His works are collected by important museums including in the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie (Paris), the DG Bank (Germany), the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery Singapore and well known private collectors. In 2007 he was awarded the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Prize from Japan and 2014 the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by French Ministry of Culture & Communication.

Date: Thursday, 7 March 2019
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2018-2019 Lecture Series.