German photographer Peter Nitsch has sent us a selection of his latest series of photos, documenting combined businesses and homes in Bangkok, Thailand.
Called Shophouses – 4 x 8 m Bangkok, the series includes shops, salons and laundrettes usually run from the ground floor of the family home.
The photographs will be on show at Kathmandu Gallery in Thailand 7 August - 26 September.
All photographs are copyright Peter Nitsch.
Here's some more information from the photographer:
Peter Nitsch: SHOPHOUSES – 4 x 8 m Bangkok
Structured Mandelbrot set
"Far from the traffic jams and the go-go bars, Nitsch takes us into the front rooms of the eight million ordinary Thais who are the real Bangkok: busy, chaotic-looking, organised by an impenetrable idiosyncrasyand unashamedly human." – John Burdett, Author
The city as a living space, and that with its related concept of urbanism as a social phenomenon that according to Louis Wirth describes the rationalised lifestyle of urban people in comparison to the provinciality of rural inhabitants, is among the great themes of contemporary photography. Barely uttered, the “magic word” creates in our minds large pictures in which develop the technological aesthetic of urban-building excesses in globalised mega-cities. What we often forget in this respect is a second dimension of urbanism, which embraces the coexistence of various types of people, each with their own identity, in a limited living space. With his SHOPHOUSES – 4 x 8 m Bangkok series of works, Nitsch focuses precisely on this dimension.
Beyond the skyscrapers and neon signs, which also increasingly oust the traditional cityscape of Bangkok, the photographer-artist, who was born in Germany in 1973, grants us an intimate view of the retail businesses that are typical of Southeast Asia and the lives of their owners. For many of them the mostly two-storey shop, that on the lower level is open to the street, is workplace and living space in one. Thus Nitsch’s photographs condense entire lifestyles in cramped surrounding that are often crammed full to the last centimetre and nevertheless radiate an almost meditative peace.
"These SHOPHOUSES captures show the hidden side of working Bangkok few people know: a fascinating world of color, history and industry. I admire Peter Nitsch's sensitive photography that illuminates historic places that I hope will not vanish." – Sujata Massey, Author
This peace is surprising because, as noted by Roman Rahmacher, himself an authority on Asia and picture editor with Gruner + Jahr, it is “diametrically opposed to the Bangkok that I have previously been aware of.” And it is a fact that for European eyes it is only a bewildering confusion at first glance. But if one allows the pictures to make an impression, a fractal pattern with a high degree of similarity is to be gradually recognised in the overfilled rooms, which from the sheer number of objects suddenly makes a structured Mandelbrot set. The chaos becomes a cosmos and thus transforms into its opposite: an orderliness, to which the photographs additionally lend their characteristic power of peace.
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