Bangkok – Sukhumvit Road – 17th March
Yesterday I posted my account of the red demonstration on Sukhumvit Road. I walked among the crowd from the Sukhumvit and Asoke intersection to Soi 31. Along the way I took a series of photographs. Below is a slide show of additional photographs from Wednesday morning.
As a novelist, I am a storyteller. These photographs are like a short story; a slice of a rainy Wednesday morning in Bangkok. A Sukhumvit Road story told in a series of images. Inside the larger political story, were lots of Twitter sized personal stories. I sought them out. The expression on a person’s face in a huge crowd tells a story.
Others who were photographing around me were finding their own story in the crowd. That is the thing you first learn about being caught up inside a large demonstration. You are surrounding by more people than you can ever remember. They are strangers. They had come into the by the thousands street and in the rain because of a story. Each of red shirted demonstrators formed part of a collective and but these weren’t ants. They also had individual stories. All one had to do was ask. Such a simple thing but rarely do people listen to a stranger’s story.
It is the individual story that moves and touches a reader. It must be genuine. It doesn’t have to be original. Heart felt is the password. I found on the street yesterday, thinking how any individual was just another face in a sea of faces. Their personal narrative is swallowed up in a sea of faces. They called themselves red shirted people. But that was the reason for their coming together; as people they were more than the color of their shirts.
Photographing a crowd difficult. I forced to decide what story to record. The selection process wouldn’t wait for reflection; it must be made in seconds as the crowd doesn’t stand still. Every journalist understands that pressure. Novelists, in the writing process, can freeze the action and walk around the scene and characters. In a real life crowd, that’s not possible.
Yesterday morning, being on the street, was a good reminder for any author, that the creative process is different when a camera is picked up and he or she moves through a moving crowd taking pictures. It reminded me to appreciate the importance of the selection and how the speed of time moves everything and thing forward making the possibilities of variations infinite. But finding the story in a crowd is a novelist’s job, it is what he or she is destined to do.