DCT for Bedsheets Magazine

A bit late in posting, but here’s some shots from a shoot I did for Bedsheets Magazine a couple months back.

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Chasing the Ghost in Laos

Tonight I board a night train to the Laos border cross into Vientiane for Chasing the Ghost of Karl Marx. Follow the progress at www.chasingtheghost.net/blog.

View from a Train

The White Project, Round Three


A few weeks back I posted some shots from a project I’ve been working on exploring the Southeast Asian obsession with light skin. While this standard of beauty exists throughout all of Asia, in ethnically diverse Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, it affects people and society much more severely than in more homogenous societies like Korea and Japan. In Southeast Asia the economically and socially empowered urban class has, thanks to ethnic reasons, lighter skin than the disenfranchised, poorer rural class. Thus in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam the standard of beauty serves to reinforce social and economic distinctions which fall upon ethnic lines. The White Project uses photography to discuss this issue. In this project I have Southeast Asian people of a variety of ethnicities, national origins and skin tones paint their skin artificially white and then photograph them in black and white, pushing the standard of beauty to such an extreme that it becomes a mockery of itself. Yesterday I did a third shoot for this project (round one, in Thailand, can be found here, while round two in Cambodia can be found here). Here is a sampling of the results.

(click images for full size lightbox view)

The White Project

The White Project

The White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White ProjectThe White Project

 

White Khmer Contingent


While in Cambodia working on Chasing the Ghost of Karl Marx, I did some shooting for the still-untitled White project I posted about a few weeks ago. Here’s some of the results.

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Chasing the Ghost in Cambodia

Fans, Friends, Family, and Students,

I’m writing from Phnom Penh, where I’m staying in the Sa Sa Art Studio for the next two weeks working on Chasing the Ghost of Karl Marx. While I may update here occasionally, you can follow my progress at the project-specific site linked above.

-JTW

Monks ask a passing boy to take their photo in front of the Vietnamese Friendship Monument

Monks ask a passing boy to take their photo in front of the Vietnamese Friendship Monument

 

Bright White Photo Shoot

Saturday saw the resumption of an ongoing project from the past few years – the still untitled “white skin” project.

In Thailand, the importance placed on appearance and the singular standard of beauty which defines that appearance is a demanding one which pushes many Thais to go to extraordinary lengths in order to live up to their peers’ expectations. While this is exemplified in numerous ways (false eyelashes and color contacts are the norm for women, while plastic surgery is common among both sexes for those who can afford it), the most exigent of these beauty standards, for both men and women, is the value placed on having light skin. While Thailand is not alone in this (indeed, in most of Asia fair skin is a prized quality) it does seem more egregious here than elsewhere, due largely to regional and ethnic differences that make already politically and economically disenfranchised groups further pushed to the margins of culture by a fair(er) skinned Bangkok elite. Add to this mix the white-skinned, economically dominant Chinese-Thai minority and the social effects of the Thai obsession with light skin are only further exacerbated. In Thailand, the value placed on fair skin isn’t only burdening people with an unattainable standard of beauty, but this standard is also used to socially reinforce an economic and power gap that already exists on ethnic and urban-rural lines. That is to say, we see a standard of beauty that validates the worth of the rich, the powerful, the urban, and pushes out the rural, the poor, the ethnic minority.

This project is a series of portraits of young Thai people of all shades of white, tan and brown, with their skin painted artificially white – the cultural ideal pushed to such an extreme that it becomes a mockery of itself.

As previously mentioned, this is a recently resumed work in progress. While one usually might be more selective about how much of one’s process is revealed publicly, with my dual role as an artist and arts educator, I think it’s appropriate to break orthodoxy so that my students might get to see some of the considerations and decisions that go into putting together a project. Thus, below you will find some preliminary shots exploring different lighting, background, and make up techniques, along with different possible compositions. Feedback and title suggestions welcome.

 

(click images for high resolution lightbox view)

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bright white thai portraitbright white thai portraitbright white thai portrait

bright white thai portrait

 

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Photoblog Grows Up

Jasontoniowoerner.net has officially changed form, from photoblog to full-on portfolio site. Take a look at the new commissions and art / travel sections in the menu above, and check back in coming weeks for the addition of film work as it gets scanned and uploaded.

Trasher Party Posters

Last week I did a photo shoot for Trasher, a crew of Bangkok party promoters. Here’s a look at posters resulting from the shoot!

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Hanoi Highlights

It’s hit the part of my travels where time goes from abundance to the luxury out-of-reach; rather than thematically organized posts, I’ll just have to resorted to a more unfiltered image-dump until I get back. Here’s some highlights from Hanoi, and a couple from my last days in HCMC.

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hanoi
hanoi
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hanoi
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hanoi
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hanoi

My Favorite Guys in Vietnam

Enough said.

Neighborhood Guys in Ho Chi Minh City