Monday, 24 November 2008

Tom Hoops: Wai Kru Ceremony

Photograph © Tom Hoops-All Rights Reserved

Tom Hoops' biography is sparse....very sparse. His website only says that he's a freelance photographer, based in Bangkok and available for worldwide assignments. That's it.

However, his work speaks for him. Mostly black & white, with a few in color, Hoops has a natural affinity for portraits...striking portraits. A few of his subjects display enormous magnetism, and his Heads gallery is a must-see on his website.

But the gallery I liked best is the Documentary one because Hoops displays his work on the annual Wai Kru (homage to the teacher) ceremony at Wat Bang Phra, a Buddhist monastery 25 miles west of Bangkok. It is here that thousands of laborers, taxi-drivers, truck drivers, mobsters, small time crooks arrive once a year at the temple to take part in ceremony known as wai kru. They receive new tattoos, refresh faded ones, and get high or drunk.

(Tom Hoops gallery via Penelope Gan's blog)

I'm very familar with Wat Bang Phra (or Phro) and its tattooing monks. I photographed the monks at the monastery, and have a blog post here.