Vanishing Bangkok: The Changing Face of the City


It takes an unusual eye to capture the fragile beauty and faded charm of a fast moving, chaotic city like Bangkok. But British photographer and writer Ben Davies has done precisely that in his latest book ‘Vanishing Bangkok: The Changing Face of the City.’

Shot over the past six years mainly on a large format Linhof film camera, his stunning black and white photographs reveal the city’s rich heritage, its diversity and old world splendour which may be about to disappear forever beneath a tidal wave of urban development. From exquisite images of the Old Customs House on the banks of the Chao Phraya River to the vibrant communities of Chinatown, sleepy canals and crumbling buildings lost in time, they evoke the extraordinary history of this great city.

For Davies, who has lived and worked in Asia for 30 years, this project was a unique opportunity to document a side of the Thai capital that many people are unfamiliar with. “I wanted to open people’s eyes to an aspect of the city that perhaps they never knew,” he writes. “I wanted to capture the magic of this older Bangkok before it vanishes forever.”

The book’s powerful and nostalgic photographs of old neighborhoods around the city are accompanied by extensive captions and a short text detailing the author’s personal odyssey. His words shed light on both the people he meets and the history and different cultures of the city.

Davies is the author of six books on vanishing cultures around Asia, including ‘Living with Spirits: A Journey into the Heart of Thailand’. His work has appeared in National Geographic, the Daily Telegraph, the Irish Times, Vogue and Time Magazine. His photographs have been shown in solo exhibitions in Bangkok, Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

By Ben Davies
Distributed by River Books (2020)
144 pages, hardcover, 94 black and white photographs
ISBN 978-616-451-034-0
Price THB 1,500 US$45 35 Pounds Sterling
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