As Times Goes By. Interview with Lek Kiatsirikajorn

Nella giovane scena artistica Thai di Bangkok, intorno al 2000/2001, Lek Kiatsirikajorn è una promessa. Neolaureato, aveva buone carte da giocare. Ma decise di provare due cose: un’esperienza all’estero e fotografare.
Per 7 anni studia e lavora in Gran Bretagna. Studia fotografia a Bournemouth e il suo lavoro convince il fotografo di moda Steven Klein, Alexandra Shulman (editor di Vogue British) e Kate Bush (responsabile delle Barbican Art Galleries), aggiudicandosi il “Fashion Meets Art” promosso dal magazine Art Review. Da quel momento Lek lavora nella moda e nella pubblicità. Nel 2008 decide di ritornare in patria, a Bangkok,  nella modesta casa dei genitori che non vedeva da molto tempo. Fu uno shock.
Il tempo era passato e il padre e la madre erano visibilmente invecchiati. As Time Goes By è la prima storia, personale, raccontata fotograficamente da Lek Kiatsirikajorn.  La serie è stata esposta a Singapore, Phnom Penh e Parigi.

Where did you show As Times Goes By? How was the idea of your first exhibition?
I have never had a solo exhibition for the series. The first exhibiton for As Time Goes By was a group show in Singapore Photo Festival in 2010. I did not have much input for it because there were curators taking care of different exhibitions in the festival. However, I have a plan for a solo show for this series. There won’t be anything special. It will be a simple photography exhibition.

Which are your main influences in photography and in other arts?
I am actually interested in all kinds of photography, and there are so many works from different photographers that I really like.But I would sayI am mostly  influenced  by great American doumentary photographers such as Alec Soth, Joel Sternfeld and Stephen Shore. I got the urge of documenting my own society from their work.

My fine arts background helps me a lot in my photography, both conciously and subconciously. It influences the way I frame my images, the tonality of my work, and sometimes the overall mood and feel.

I like the work by artists like Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. They see the extraordinary in the ordinary in their surroundings. Their works are simple and quiet but very beautiful. (You can see their influences in my two new projects, Flowing Through The Wreckage of Despair and Lost in Paradise).

This particular image below from As Time Goes By was influenced by a painting called Betty by Gerhard Richter. Somehow Betty popped up in my head when I was shooting my mon sleeping on the sofa.

Mom ©Lek Kiatsirikajorn from “As Times Goes By”

Betty ©Gerhard Richter. Oil on canvas, 1988

How has your work been influenced by your painting background?
How has your work been influenced by your fashion industry expertise?
My experience in fashion photography doesn’t have an influence on my personal work at all. It only influences my commercial work.

You said this work has psychological therapy for you. What do you mean?
It is in our culture that sons and daughters should take care of the parents in return when they are old. I went to England and have lived there for about six years and a half. I have rarely thought about my parents and my family.

Somehow, the guilt of neglecting my parents has built up in me. I started photographing my parents to reduce the continuing guilt in my mind, and to tell myself at least I do something for them after years of neglect.

What are the most important moments during the shooting at your parent’s home?
There was no most important moment. Everything was just like how it has been. They were just normal days.  My parents did what they have been doing everyday, swapping their work shift and have a rest.

My parents have been selling vegetables in the local market since they got married. My mom goes to the vegetable stall in the morning. She will come back to have a rest when my dad comes back from the wholesale vegetable market. Then she will swap her shift with my dad again in the afternoon, so he can have a rest too.

Why did you take pictures to your parents only they were sleeping or resting?
Because, it is the only time that I can perceive them very closely, and contemplate over their aging body about things they have done for me.

Should you leave again Thailand?
I am open and leave it to the future.