Cody Ellingham’s latest project Bangkok Phosphurs shines a blue hue over the city’s ancient heritage, quitening down the noise which engulfs the bustling capital.
Previously covering his work on Shanghai Streets, we are certainly huge fans of his work, and Cody Ellingham is back with a new venture.
After reading the 1970 novel The Temple of Dawn, by Japanese author Mishima Yukio, Ellingham was keen to visit Bangkok to uncover the ancient face of the city which over the years has been masked.
In Shanghai Streets, Ellingham took us around the forgotten areas of Shanghai, indicating how the fast moving mega-city had shifted away from it’s traditional roots.
Following a similar theme, but he had a different challenge with Bangkok. Once the fastest growing city in the world, Bangkok may have moved away from a raft of old canals and temples, as depicted in the temple of dawn, but today’s Bangkok is far cry from a cold, modern metropolis.
Bangkok is alive.
Anyone with the pleasure, (or displeasure depending how you see it!), of visiting the Thai capital will know it is an attack on the senses in every sense. Noises, smells, sights, lights, speeding bikes, tuk-tuks whizzing through the traffic. The thick, dense pollution almost suffocates you, mixed in with the searing heat and humidity, and you struggle to walk a few paces down the road without wanting a shower.
‘my first taste of bangkok was through this novel, written fifty years ago, which deeply inspired me with its idyllic imagery of an old city of canals and temples. I wanted to come here and see how the modern city had changed with my own eyes: I found the canals has been mostly replaced by congested concrete roads and the chaos of change … but still the city had a kind of magic to it.’
There are people on every inch of road hustling in their day to day, whether it’s huge pad Thai vendors, or sticks of meat rotating around. Bangkok is every inch a thriving Asian city.
So the question begs, how has Ellingham achieved to capture it in almost unrecognisable form?
Eager to try to pull back the mask, people are scarce in the shots, and the blue hues reduce the vibrancy down, having a much cooler feel.
Almost melancholic, it shows the forgotten elements of the city as it rapidly grew, and it also highlights the sadness of these losses.
There is no doubt that Ellingham’s talent behind the lense is exceptional, and his ability to create auras in a place completely different to how they are usually experienced is something entirely unique, and something HEKKTA applauds!