On a Roll: “Bangkok by Night” by Brendan Lea

At nighttime, Bangkok shifts up a gear in its intensity, mercantilism, and sensory overload. These images are largely shot around the infamous Khaosan Road, home of a frenetic night market, where you can buy anything from crocodile meat to nitrous oxide. I think it’s fair to say that it marks the feverish collision of several microcultures: the western backpackers, the drug trade, the stallholders, the bar owners and restauranteurs, the youth with their scooters, the tuk-tuk drivers, the poor — all jammed into a small, dense street billowing in the high humidity of Southeast Asia.

There is nothing “authentic” about the Khaosan Road anymore. A long time ago, one would travel there to experience what “real Bangkok” felt like. It is so different and debased now, shaped by the millions of tourists who traipse through it nightly due to its reputation as the center of the backpacking universe, that it has become something else entirely: a seedy, hot, writhing party.

Paradoxically, one could argue, this pulsating, phantasmagorical patchwork of culture and commerce is the real Bangkok of 2019.

Keep up with Brendan’s work here.

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