PHOTOGRAPHER SHOOTS DRUNK PEOPLE EATING & DRINKING & EXHIBITS IT
Bangkok Foodies came across an event which grabbed our attention, the title in particular : “Mao Mak Mag 3 – Launch Party and Exhibition”. The majority of us know that “Mao Mak” means “very drunk”, in fact those are the first words we tend to learn in Thai apart from “hello’, “thank you” and “how much”.
The photo exhibition event launches on Saturday, Nov 11th at JAM Cafe and will encapsulate hundreds of photos and audio installations depicting (in all it’s natural glory), the drunken nightlife of Bangkok.
Now you may beg the question, why in the heck would anyone want to witness drunk locals and Expats? When you could simply go to your local bar and pull up a stool or take a stroll to a late-night food hub and watch people shovel food indiscriminately, cross-eyed and dribbling spit down their faces. Been there done that you say.
Nevertheless, before deciding that we’ve seen it all, we thought it imperative to actually take a look at some of these magic moments, along with hearing what the master voyeur, Mr Graham Meyer, has to say about why he chose Bangkok hedonism as a subject and how looking at others may reflect conformity in which digital society have imprisoned us… or not.
FULL NAME: Graham Meyer
OCCUPATION: Freelance Photographer
BKF: Please tell us a bit about what you do and how long have you spend doing that in Thailand?
GM: I obsessively photograph things and have been doing such for as long as I have been in Thailand; which is about 7 years.
BKF: What got into your mind to capture random moments of inebriation? Without sounding crass was it also out of convenience to work while you partied?
GM: Haha, well I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t convenient to capture these moments. I definitely take part in “my work” in this case. I carry a camera with me at all times, so these sort of shots just happen on their own. After awhile I started piecing them together and they evolved into a project.
BKF: Has VICE ever called you for your pics? If not, they should.
BKF: You use a lot of print film rather than going the whole-hog digital. Why would you shoot with a medium which is seen as laborious or ‘limiting’ in this day and age?
If you have a digital camera, there’s always this temptation to review the shot right after taking it, then maybe retake it, then again, and maybe one more time….so the moment is long gone and you’re left with these stale artificial memories. It really kills the mood.
I can’t tell you how annoying it is to go to a concert and have a group of photographers all chilling in the front row taking snap after snap and peeping at every shot afterward, all while you’re just trying to enjoy the show. Shit like that drives me crazy.
Film forces you let go, you take a shot or two and time goes on. You think about the future rather than the past. You can live in the moment much easier and enjoy the experience of whatever it is you’re doing.
BKF: Food tends to be always the option during and particularly after a boozy session. In the MAO MAK MAG 3 series we see a lot of burger and Thai snacks consumption. What are ( in your experience ) the boozy burger / snack food of choice?
I’m a little bit bias since JAM is kinda my second home, but the classic JAM Burger with bacon is top notch. Also, they make bake their own buns, so you can taste the difference. If we’re talking Thai food, the list goes on and on.
With beer, หมูสับ หนำเลี๊ยบ is so gooooood. (I know it’s Chinese Thai, but it counts!) There’s a 24 hour Kao Tom place walking distance from HuaLamphong station that has my favorite one.
Also Moo Dae Deow (sorry I can’t find it in google, I mean the red sun dried pork) and Tom Tang-Thai (Thai cucumber salad with shrimps instead of crab) I’d say most Isaan food pairs well with beer.
BKF: Where could we normally find you and your gang? Your favourite watering and eating holes so to speak.
JAM (Surasak) is definitely the place to be both for drinking and eating; hence why I’m holding the exhibition there. Speedy Grandma and POMP as well (for drinking) I tend to spend my time around the same places.
Rat Ya road near Wongwian Yai is one of my favorite areas to eat Isaan food, especially Jim Jum. On Soi Nana Yaowarat (not Sukhumvit) has some great family restaurants/street food.
Forget about the posh pop ups and go for the tiny stalls in the alleys, especially the Massaman curry with Khanom chin in the soi behind Tep bar.
BKF: Please tell us a little about your upcoming exhibition and what we should or shouldn’t expect?
GM: This is the largest exhibition I have ever done and it’s encompassing a “body of work” that I’ve accumulated over the past 3-4 years.
However, there will be around 500 photographs in different forms displayed on 2 floors, as well as a couple other surprises that I’d rather people find out about when they get there.
Music will be played by by DJ Honeycomb & DJ Gishiyama (Phrakanong Soundscapes/Punky Disco) So expect minimal/funky/weird electronic music to groove to. Also Asahi is sponsoring the event, so free beer if you come early! Don’t expect anyone to be sober by the end of the night.
BKF: Are you at all concerned about the authorities in Bangkok banging down the gallery door? We’ve noticed quite a few alcohol labels shown and adults behaving free of their inhibitions, we know how they love that (smirk)*
GM: Ha ha ha…*nervous laugh*
I’ve seen the cops turn up at a few friends exhibitions and it’s pretty stressful every time. The ironic thing is, if they do crash the party, we’ll probably end up getting more press than if they didn’t. I’ll be sure to have some “government approved” editions of my book available. *wink*
BKF: Do you think a body of work focusing on a drunken ‘society’ acts as a positive or negative influence to those who view it, or are there other messages we need to look beyond?
GM: I think it really depends on the person, but most people are honest when they’re drunk and I enjoy capturing parts of people that they might otherwise be too shy or ashamed of to display.
Sure, we do stupid and crazy things when we’re drunk, but I think humans tend to forget that we’re all just animals anyway.
Our digital world is so heavily curated that most people only broadcast on social media the things they want others to see with disregard for how they actually feel.
Everything has become so fabricated and every action must be justified or faced with a horde of shame.
I’d rather skip all that bullshit and just have fun without worrying about what “followers” think. It’s ok to make mistakes, be gross, or act stupid sometimes.
BKF: Would you consider doing a series capturing people in the fine dining industry getting coked-up or smashed on champagne whilst doing caviar shots?
Ehhhh, I’d rather not. I have a feeling they’d be the most annoying people to drink with. I feel like there’s probably already a reality show documenting that sort of scene.
I’d most likely be in the corner pouring all the caviar into a plastic bag, so I could make a posh cream cheese bagel the next morning. I’m more comfortable with dive bars and house parties. Unless they pay me, in which case….where do I sign up?
Mao Mak Mag 3 – Launch Party and Exhibition
Taking over both floors of Jam, Graham Meyer’s photography zine launch party and solo exhibition will include hundreds of photos, an audio installation and a few surprises. With the first in the zine series already sold out, MAO MAK MAG 3 will his final offering to the MAO MAK MAG series, a huge body of work capturing drunken nightlife in Bangkok.
DATE: Saturday, Nov 11th (starts at 7pm)
LOCATION: 41 Soi Rong Nam Kang (Charoen Rat Soi 1), Sathorn – Surasak BTS Exit 2, 10120 Bangkok, Thailand
VENUE CONTACT: Phone: 089 889 8059