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
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.