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IN THE PICTURE #35
In ‘In the Picture’ photographers from all over the world share their 10 most beautiful pictures of Thailand. See Thailand through the photographer’s lens, read background stories about the pictures and learn more about the beautiful Thailand!
We are lovers of people who are different from the rest. Someone who knows that every person is unique yet equal. A person who chooses to take the muddy mountain path than the beaten path straight ahead. Such a person is Pavel. His writing style, his view of the world and his personality makes him a special person to us and we are very happy to have In the Picture #35!
Pavel, keep on smiling, your way of writing sure made us smile… Thanks mate!
Hello, please introduce yourself.
Privet, Hello, Sawasdee Krub!
I am Pavel Khon, born and raised in Khabarovsk, full seven time zones away from Moscow, and four hours ahead of Thailand. The city on the Amur River in the Far East of Russia: freezing cold in winter and humid hot in summer! Wild as honey, fresh as red caviar, spicy as kimchi (due to my background), strong and united like its people, and beautiful like all the women from that region!
Having lived in Bangkok for almost 11 years I am still fascinated by this sour-sweet city of contrasts, every day being grateful for the wonderful opportunity to live, love, suffer, laugh, feel down, hesitate, and be motivated here.
I bought my first DSLR just before moving to Thailand to share my impressions about “Wonderland” with my mom, older brother, and friends back home. Those days I would mainly photograph what represents “Human’s Mind, Skills, and Thai Nature” in the streets: still shots, modern high-rise buildings, rotten wooden houses along dirty canals, green soft drinks in plastic bags hung on electrical cables, fantastic trees, golden statues, lost flip-flops, lazy dogs sleeping next to 7/11, unknown fruits, weird looking foods, and people sometimes. And YES – all those photos were terrible, thoughtless, tasteless and plain. Such a shhaaame!!! Over the time, my focus gradually switched mostly to a human existence and condition, and it became my strongest passion until now. It has become more conscious, and I have probably become more mindful about it. Without much obsession or enough dedication to improve it to perfection I keep it as my hobby. While my actual work requires me to be punctual, reliable and as serious as a heart attack since I work with Airline Catering Company providing meals and services for various airlines from Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao Airports.
– Pavel Khon –
During my trip to Kanchanaburi visiting this literally most instagrammable spot was a must! The great thing about it is that you can walk into the lush green rice field using the wooden walkway. I noticed this couple walking away before I got my smoothie. Sitting there, enjoying the insane view, and waiting for them to return, my patience was finally paid off as I got (almost got) what I had visualized. There were many people going to and fro but I needed the couple in the frame only. Why did I say that I had almost got what I wanted? Because I wish I could get the view of Wat Tham Sua that was on the right hand side. I guess you should find this place yourself and definitely check it out! It is stunning! I am planning to come back to Kanchanaburi and will possibly visit this cafe again with one like-minded person. If you read this – SMILE!!! :)
What is your favorite destination in Thailand?
- MY – happy, accepting, struggling, learning, helping, risky, doubtful, open and loving – INNER SELF. I actually very rarely reach this point, and have probably never been there, but this journey is worth dedicating your life to.
- Koh Phangan – it is big and diverse. It was the very first island I visited after moving to Thailand, and it calls me back again and again because of its unknown magnetic spirit, nature, nostalgia, and energy. Its indescribable healing energy empowers your soul, and is able to clear your wounds.
- Koh Samui, of course – because of Dipabhavan Silent Meditation Center where I stayed for 7 days silent meditation retreat about 9 years ago last time, and going there in the middle of April 2021. (these answers are replied before April 2021)
Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?
- MY – happy, accepting, struggling, learning, helping, open and loving – INNER SELF :)
- Seriously, any new or old destination where I can learn, explore, find the peace of mind, and be able to use new knowledge to make myself a better self, and to be helpful. It is the perfect destination, but I would explore more of the North and East of Thailand. I want to do some photo documentaries about local tribes, homelessness, spirituality, social problems of individual characters, or communities. I would be nice to cooperate with some organizations, magazines or websites actually.
A symbolic capture representing Stillness and Hectic Life at its fullest in the City Of Life and Contrasts where opinions about it are divided to extreme: you either leave it for islands escaping the concrete jungle paralyzed by endless traffic jams, or extend your stay here indefinitely since it absorbs you and doesn’t let you go.
Walking along the skywalk from Central World to BTS Siam (Siam Square) my attention was drawn by red traffic cones and road arrow markers. The only missing thing to visually fulfill the frame was a subject. So I took a convenient position and waited for about five minutes until the right subject would step in. Leading lines with a well defined subject to create an engaging and solid composition is a nice way to an interesting photograph.
Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?
I will not advise “point 1” from the two previous answers for this one :) but I would recommend peaceful Koh Mak Island for its harmony with nature, and the most beautiful, kind, friendly, helpful people living there: both locals and expats. Absolutely! I would also recommend appreciating and respecting the traditional way of life of the island, and keeping it clean. Another reason is Music Festivals as “Fly To The Moon” celebrated every New Year in different locations of the island (due to COVID postponed to April 2021), and “Thaibreak Festival” (normally in March but the Pandemic made its adjustments. (not sure when is the next one). Much love to all the Koh Mak family! Mwah! :*
Where do you like to eat?
Any nearby restaurant, café or street stall at a specific time of a day. My general belief is to eat with reflection: not to play, not to intoxicate our body, but to stay alive and healthy. I regularly ground myself, trying to eat with more awareness, being thankful to animals, plants, and people behind the final product. However, I would recommend two names that came to my mind first:
- I miss Russian food so I recommend visiting “The Moon Under Water” the only Russian restaurant in Bangkok. Make sure you chat with Chef Alesha about his family recipes, life in Bangkok, arts, soviet movies, music and life in general. He is such a character.
- Cuisine from “Empty Plates – private dining services” – it is not a restaurant but cozy home-like dining, which I luckily had a chance to indulge with! The extraordinary culinary experience beautifully crafted by talented Chef Steven.
Have you ever thought about how lucky you are? Such scenes always pull me back, ground me, and remind me of the things to be grateful for – the things that many of us take for granted: parents, health, five basic human senses, morning coffee, organic plant based food and medium rare steak, clean drinking water or a glass of red wine, sport shoes or a smartphone, or Sunshine at least. Sometimes it is easier to feel bad because you are going through a hard time in life, but remember that no matter how bad your situation may seem, there are tons of things to be grateful for in your beautiful life.
I met this family on my way to 7/11 one morning. Having noticed the little one first, it was a must for me to quietly get a photo of this cutie. Trying to stay unnoticed I switched to a paparazzi mode, came closer but I failed. The older girl noticed me, gave me a grumpy insecure look, and turned her head away. I could not just leave, of course, so I approached her dad, sang a nursery rhyme to the little one, and asked the older sister to squeeze the cutie’s cheeks until they all burst with laughter. This half a minute interaction made my day, filled it with love, and definitely extended my life:) Some researchers say the biggest grinners live longer! SMILE EVERYONE!
Tip us a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.
What is your favorite Thai dish?
For me hot Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon is a showstopper! From the very first time I tasted it about 12 years ago and cried like a baby trying to tolerate unfamiliar spices that made my scalp tingle. Until now whenever I have this flavorful, creamy version of the soup, it strikes me with its multidimensional sensory layers. Not to mention that the last word in the description looks like my last name spelled in English, haha. And I like Fried Rice with crab or vegetables paired with the soup. What can be better?!
Mediums, called Ma Song, are devotees who are believed to offer their bodies as vessels for the Gods to possess during Phuket Vegetarian Festival, pierce their faces as an act of self-mortification for spiritual cleansing, good luck, merit-making, and ensuring prosperity and good luck.
Known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival this annual nine-day Taoist celebration is definitely worth visiting if you are on Phuket in October.
Few years ago I had a chance to stay with one of the healers (believed to be an embodiment of one of the Gods) for a few days during amazing rituals, meditations while he was curing illnesses of devotees who were searching for changes in their lives.
I want to cite William Shakespeare for this photo:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts”
Since the beginning of the pandemic I had a chance to see the change in Suvarnabhumi Airport. You could hardly see tourists there: some were stuck and lived in the airport, but overall there were very few people. These are passengers checking their repatriation flight, and wearing protective face masks, while the poster underneath the departure board shows masks from ASEAN. I felt like both masks made an interesting match.
What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?
Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?
Leave your ego on the airplane before you disembark! Open your mind and be polite! Realize and accept the diversity and difference of the country! Wear a helmet – it can be bumpy!
Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?
I’ll give you my 2 favorites:
- Hong-naam-yoo-tee-nhai krub? – Where is a toilet? I learnt it right after disembarking an airplane when I arrived to Thailand for the first time in my life. It is still quite a useful phrase sometimes, ha ha!
- Mai Sai Churod! Mai Sai Namtan krub! – Do not add MSG! Do not add sugar, please! There are the two reasons I do not eat street food much these days. But I really love it, anyway!
I noticed this street vendor from the opposite side of a road as he was sitting on a bicycle a bit elevated above the crowd. I felt this genuine connection towards him as he was smiling and OBSERVING his potential customers. Having approached him from a side I was very lucky as he started to yawn like crazy, the girl on the background smiled at him, and the thai phrase on the white background said: “Closed every day!”
I am introspective. I often consider my thoughts and feelings instead of talking to other people about them. By shooting events and streets I unconsciously push myself out of my comfort zone, express my emotions and vision. Being naturally reserved and not super emotional, other people’s feelings and their smiles boost my energy and make me genuinely happy. Viewing side-streets, observing trees or flowers swaying in the wind along dusty roads I enjoy looking for details. I think I can hang and stare at them for hours:) This is how this photo was taken – I was standing there for a few minutes enjoying the beauty of nature, trying to get a sharp image until I realized one of the flowers was smiling at me. Smiles can trick your brain into happiness releasing dopamine that increases feelings of happiness and serotonin which release reduces stress! It’s psychosomatics! SMILE EVERYONE!
What type / brand of camera do you use?
Nikon D750. My favorite lenses for streets are 14mm for wide angles shots, I rarely use it but it gives such a great perspective and dynamics to photos. I used to shoot with 35mm often, but these days you can often meet me with 50mm or 105mm lenses.
Where can our readers find your work / photos?
Only on Instagram, plus my film photo page @PVKhon_filmfeed and under these hashtags for more convenience:#мойлюбимыйуличныйбангкок – Bangkok Streetlife, #PVKhon_events and #PVKhon_travel – are self-explanatory.
Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?
Apisak Krongkehung (studio_aday). We don’t know each other in person though. I like the aesthetics in the photos, the minimalistic visual poetry!
Ironically, it is both sad and hilarious if you aren’t aware of the context of this photo.
Heading to BTS Sala Daeng I noticed him a few meters away from the station digging through a trash bin. Smiling and mumbling quietly, he was enthusiastically segregating garbage until he finally found that cup, smiled and took a sip… it’s bittersweet…
I know my photos here should be related to Thailand BUT, I think, rules are made to be broken. So if editors permit :) I would like to share these two photos taken 4 years ago in April when I visited my home town Khabarovsk. The left photo is a riverfront captured from a viewpoint on Komsomol Square in the center of the city. You can see the Amur River, beach where I went to sunbath, and a wide walkway where I liked to hang with friends, or ride my bicycle in Summer. To take a right photo I went downstairs and shot the opposite side, where you can see Grado-Khabarovsky Uspensky Cathedral (Russian Orthodox Cathedral) on the Komsomol Square. Unfortunately, I don’t have other photos, but I really want to share these as I miss my hometown.