Suthep Krisanavarin is one of Thailand’s leading photojournalists who has covered environment, social and humanitarian issues in Southeast Asia for almost two decades. His award-winning photographs have been published world-wide, including in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, National Geographic Thailand, the Japan Times, Geographical and Aera. Suthep’s work is founded on his firm belief that a photojournalist must act as a conscientious observer of society and culture, and contribute towards social change at a local and global level. He achieves these goals by working on projects over a long duration, thus establishing trust with the communities he works with and building a deep understanding about the issues that he is documenting.
Suthep has exhibited his photography in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Japan, Germany and France. His exhibitions have included: Kuay and Elephants – Struggling for Survival; Life in Xinjiang, China; Hunters and Monks in Thailand; and Siphandon – Mekong Fishing under Threat. In May 2008, a week after Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma, Suthep visited areas affected by the cyclone and chronicled the suffering of the people. His images bore witness to the destruction, torment and despair caused by the cyclone that have been exacerbated by the actions of the military government.
After the 2004 Asian tsunami, Suthep co-founded the InSIGHT Out! Photography Project and worked as the project’s Photography Director. The project teaches children from the tsunami-affected areas of Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Phang Nga, Thailand how to document their lives through photography. Suthep is also the only Asian tutor for young Asian photographers who participate in the Angkor Photography Festival.
Suthep’s photo essay about the Siphandon area on the Mekong River in Southern Laos, shot over a three-year period, is a vital documentation that draws attention to the threats posed by large hydropower dams to traditional fishing communities and wildlife. These images have been used by international and regional organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, International Rivers and Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), to raise public awareness about the impacts of the proposed dams on the Mekong mainstream.
Suthep’s powerful images create in-depth documentary essays that are shot over protracted periods of time on his own funding and initiative. His Mekong River photo documentary has now been awarded a grant by the Blue Earth Alliance. In 2008, Suthep was awarded a Best of Photojournalism award from the US National Press Photographers Association and a Days Japan International Photojournalism Special Prize.