St. Edward’s University Documentary Photography & Global Studies in Thailand

Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Summer 2014

Photographers were asked to find particular aspects of culture, place, and time they felt would add to a larger project descriptive of the small communities and people encountered in Southern Thailand. Students were tasked with keeping in mind how visual and paired written descriptions illustrating their chosen subjects could also lead viewers to consider Thailand’s position in the larger global community.

Any such photography project raises issues of documentary truth, for participants are telling “a”, not “the”, true story. We are limited by ourselves. What one sees and how one sees it — what one chooses to record as noteworthy by making a photograph — is a barometer of the photographer and her/his nationality as much as it is a marker reflecting landscape, culture, lifestyle, and mores of the place and people documented.

Thanks to Walailak University our host for this project and to the colleagues there who provided lecture and other support. Thanks as well to the wonderful people of the Province of Nakhon Si Thammarat who welcomed us onto their land and into their lives. Special thanks to Adjarn Sunthorn Boonkaew for his untiring support in all aspects of this project. It would not have been possible without his dedication and deep knowledge of business and culture in Southern Thailand.

Project Photographers and Primary Themes

  • Juliann Butz – Issues of Gender and Self-Identification
  • Laura Davila – Considering Rice in Thailand
  • Amar Gupta – Muay Thai as Sport and Social Remedy
  • Victoria Mathis – Mosque as Educational and Community Center
  • Miranda McCalla – Considering Traditional Thai Medicine
  • Maria Minor – Looking at the Thai Wedding Industry
  • Samuel Pierce – Local Fish and Fishing
  • Juliana Ramirez – The Noteworthy Ordinary
  • Maria Elena Valdes – Wat as Educational and Community Center

Joseph Vitone, Professor,
St. Edward’s University
3001 S. Congress Avenue
Austin TX 78704-6489