New Hope

June 9, 2014
Documentary, Film


A story of the unusual fusion of the iconic Star Wars and the traditional shadow play called wayang kulit.
Now a new hope is rising for that disappearing art.

Watch and get inspired!

The story was published on the Wall Street Journal here:

My greatest thanks go to¬†all those who are pushing the “Peperangan Bintang” project forward and especially to Tintoy Chuo, Take Huat, Pak Dain and Ahmad Azrai whom I interviewed.

// Camera : Canon 6D, Canon 5D Mark II
// Lenses : Canon 100 2.8 IS, Canon 17-40mm, Sigma 50mm 1.4
// Editing/Grading : After Effects, Premiere Pro


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Where the Silk Grows

April 27, 2014
Documentary, Photo-Story

Silk in Thailand


Recent summers have been way hotter than usual and that has killed thousands of silkworms, dealing a big blow to the meager earnings of the poor villagers. The villages around Surin in eastern Thailand were once a hub of silk production. The women in the household used to take care of each step of the silk making process, from rearing the worms to weaving the fabric.

Cocoons are boiled to ease the silk threads out. Pimnipa Pasakanon squints in the acrid smoke from her small wood-burning stove while performing the process. Doing it for the upteenth time, she's skilled and swift. If not for the irritating fumes and the fierce heat, she would have finished in time to serve the boiled silkworms for breakfast.

It is a sad short life, the life of a silkworm. Most of them die boiled alive. But as a sort of consolation, their death never goes to waste in the village. Boild silkworms with a pinch of salt are considered here a delicacy.

The girl is unlikely to learn the craft. The youth flees from the villages to the cities, and even if they remain, they indulge in far more sophisticated pastimes like watching TV or taking drugs. The household silk production, once a source of pride and entertainment in the dry season, is in the hands of the passing generation. And, sadly but probably, they will die alongside.

Each handmade silk cloth is unique easily recognizable because of its irregularities and occasional knots. The patterns are often a signature of the village or even a family, secretly guarded for generations. In spite of its beauty, the handmade silk attracts less and less buyers every year. Since the markets are overflowing with cheap factory-made silk from China, small looms struggle with distribution.

There are rare places around Surin where the hand-weaving is extremely profitable, like this commercial village of Ban Thasawang. The village is of a great renown in the area as it produces the silk for the Royal Family itself.

The process of weaving in Banthasawang is much more complicated than on the household semi-automatic loom, and requires four and sometimes even five people working together on one piece of fabric.



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