The 24-year-old photographer Luksika “Pyn” Jiradarakul stirs up nostalgia for a retro phenomenon that is probably unknown in large parts of Bangkok: the photo booth. The creator of an art project with an old school photo boothPyn discussed her affinity for photography, took the stands to Bangkok and where to find one.
Why photo booths?
When I was out and about in New York, I saw photo booths in various places, such as bars. They just had a classic, romantic feel about them, and I absolutely fell in love with them – so much so that I would spend my time looking for as many of them as I could. When I got back to Thailand I found that they didn’t exist here. As a film freak, I did everything I could to build the culture.
What do photo booths offer that, for example, a selfie or digital photography do not offer?
Even though I’m a photographer, I’ve never liked being photographed or taking pictures of myself. But photo booths give me the freedom not to worry about anything around me. Nobody knows what to do behind the curtain and nobody tells you what to pose. It’s about creating memories and moments that you can look back on and cherish.
Most young people in Bangkok have barely seen a photo booth. Why did you think this would work?
People love taking photos in general. They’re like souvenirs for events in your life – they’re a way to keep memories. I offer people another way of engaging in photography. I also don’t think photo booths are entirely new to Thai people so making a new connection with them should be easy.
Why are people so interested in film photography right now?
A big part of that is the time you have to wait to develop your photos. With digital photography, you know how your shots will develop right after they are taken and you can decide whether or not to keep them. The experience I had while waiting for my film to develop and then sharing the photos with my friends is just more fun. It’s all trial and error. You can experiment with so many types of films and cameras … and each reel of film does its own thing as a filter.
Do you think photo booths will last or is this a passing trend?
I really want it to be more than just a trend that comes and goes, but a part of modern culture. I want it to stay forever, even if only two people are using it an hour.
How many do you want to set up and where do you want to place them?
In the next month we plan to set them up in Ari (The Apartment Store), Sukhumvit Soi 31 (FICS 31, a café for film fans by Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya, the director of Bad Genius), Siam Paragon, Emquartier and Emporium, together with those we already have in WWA Cafe x Chooseless and Lido Connect. The booths at each location all have their own design that suits the environment. In the future, we plan to set them up at weddings and flea markets as well.
Bangkok’s newest old fad? Photo booths. Find it here.
The story originally appeared in BK.
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