The annual Tattoo Festival (Wai Khru) in Thailand attracts many hundreds of devotees. Tattoos are applied by hand with long needles, the tattoo ink is rumoured to be blended with snake venom, amongst other things. Tattoos are believed to have magical properties which protect the wearer from harm. At the festival, hundreds gather in the grounds of Wat Bang Phra, a temple about an hour outside Bangkok. Some enter a trance-like state, channeling the spirits of animals until, mimicking the animals which possess them, they crawl or sprint towards the temple’s main shrine.
This year was the third that I have photographed the Tattoo Festival and it was fascinating to spend the night before the main festival in the temple grounds. Tattooing takes place throughout the night. In contrast to the noise and chaos of the following morning, the night is peaceful with small groups gathered in rooms and halls around the temple, waiting for their turn to have a new tattoo and to have tattoos from previous years re-blessed, the magical power being replenished.
Preparing fish for sale at a street market
Fresh pomegranates ready to make juice
Some street food stalls attract long queues
Seafood for sale at a street food stall
Preparing street food in central Bangkok
Preparing a street food dish
Preparing takeaway food at a street stall
T&K seafood stall in Chinatown is very popular
Fresh fruit is a popular street food snack
A selection of images from an editorial assignment about Thai street food, shot in the Chinatown and Sukhumvit areas of Bangkok
Loy Krathong is perhaps one of my favourite festivals. Despite the crowds which gather beside rivers and canals, it’s a relatively quiet and peaceful event where people meet with family and friends to float a “Krathong”. The Krathong is a small basket, traditionally made of woven banana leaves and decorated with flowers, candles and incense.
Devotees offer the krathong to the ebb and flow of the river, sending it off with a prayer and a wish. The festival is an opportunity to cast away sinful acts and to ask for wishes to be fulfilled.
This year I photographed at Wat Yannawa, a large temple beside the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. These are a few of the images.
Monks holding a Krathong, ready to float on the river.
A novice monk at Wat Yannawa.
Students from Satrisi Suriyothai school prepare their Krathong.
Preparing to lift the Krathong into the Chao Phraya river on the end of a pole.
A young boy holding the Krathong before placing it on the river.
A Buddhist monk beside the floating candles.
A girl and her father look at the floating Krathong candles.
A monk collecting donations made to the temple.
Releasing a lantern into the night sky.
A solitary lantern rises into the night sky above Bangkok.