Vanishing Bangkok: The Changing Face of the City

In this photo exhibition, Ben Davies, a British photographer and writer, reveals the hidden charm and faded splendour of parts of the busy capital city, Bangkok. For the past five years, Davies has been working on his Linhof film camera to capture the fragile beauty of the city and its valuable cultural heritage before it vanishes forever under a huge wave of urbanization. He made his journey from the Old Custom House, which was built in the 1880s, by the Chao Phraya river, the old neighborhoods around Surawong Road, all the way to the alleyway of Chinatown.

For Davies, who has lived in Thailand for almost 20 years, this project was a unique opportunity to introduce the unfamiliar parts of the city to people. “I wanted to open people’s eyes to an aspect of the city that perhaps they never knew”, Davies writes. “I want to capture the magic of this old Bangkok before it vanishes forever.”

The exhibition is supported by Abercrombie & Kent Southeast Asia, a leading luxury travel company. “Rewarding travel experiences are about showcasing each destination as a complete picture. It is important to highlight the old, traditional roots of the places we travel while also embracing the new and exciting,” says Thailand Country Manager Tim Cook. “Holding on to a sense of community and authenticity in the face of constant development can be a challenge. So, we are pleased to be part of this project that showcases and treasures the importance of the past.”

Apart from Bangkok, Davies has photographed and written acclaimed books on other vanishing cultures in Asia as well such as ‘Laos: A Journey Beyond the Mekong’. He is also the author ‘Black Market – Inside the Endangered Species Trade in Asia’, which documents the multi-billion-dollar global wildlife trade and was nominated as one of the most important books on the environment by CNN.   

Davies’ photographs have been exhibited in Bangkok, Vientiane and Luang Prabang. His work has appeared in a wide range of distinguished publications and media including National Geographic, the Daily Telegraph, the Irish Times, Vogue and Time Magazine. He is a contributing photographer for Getty Images.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book and photographs will go to the Santisuk Foundation and the Foundation for Slum Child Care under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra.

The exhibition runs from 13 March to 28 June 2020 at RCB Photographers’ Gallery (2nd floor). Free entry.