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Interview: Photographer Miti Ruangkritya's Dream-like Depictions of Bangkok's Floods

After joining the group exhibitions Politics Of Me and Temporary Storage at the BACC last year, artist and photographer Miti Ruangkritya is going solo with the photo exhibition Imagining Flood, which casts Bangkok’s floods of 2011 in a dream-like and surreal light. Here, he chats with BK about the inspiration, meaning and process of creating this exhibition.

By Vasachol Quadri | Mar 14, 2013

  • Interview: Photographer Miti Ruangkritya's Dream-like Depictions of Bangkok's Floods

What’s the inspiration behind Imagining Flood?
It’s a photography project that was created in Bangkok in November 2011, a time when there was a real fear that the floods might hit inner-city Bangkok. I wanted to capture the sense of stillness inherent in the dread in contrast to the frenetic images that were being presented in the media. Through the dream-like imagery, I wanted to present scenes as if they had been conjured by the viewers themselves, tracing that sense of fear within the imagination and the subconscious. I like the quality that nighttime images often present, which I think would have been very difficult to capture when the city is fully operational during the day. There’s a sense of mystery about the nighttime, too, and I like the drama you can create in the shadows.

What were your experiences of the floods?
In 2011, I was living in Udomsuk at the time when there was a real possibility of the area being flooded. During this period I also took an assignment with [French daily] Le Monde that put me directly in touch with people nearby who were being affected.

What’s the most challenging aspect of putting on this exhibition?
Working with the unavailability of materials, especially the limited choice of photographic paper in Bangkok. This forces me to keep my presentation to a bare minimum, which is not a bad thing at all—constraints can help focus a project.

Which photo in this series is your favorite and why?  
I see it more as a whole body of work, which makes it too difficult to say I have a favorite.  I try to create a piece of work that stands alone as a flow of images, building from one to another, as part of a whole piece rather than as individuals.

Your work always deals with politics and social situations; how does this reflect you?
All my work has always been a personal reaction and observation towards my surroundings.  I would not say I am an overtly political person, although since returning to Thailand I feel that political issues are impossible to escape—be it through the media, social networks or even at the dinner table with my friends and family.

What’s your next plan?
I am currently working on a self-published photography zine with a couple of friends from various backgrounds, including fashion, moving images and graphic design. It will hopefully be ready by the end of this year.

 Imagining Flood runs through April 28 at Kathmandu Photo Gallery, 87 Pan Rd.

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Assoc. Prof. Varaporn Suravadee died yesterday at the age of 81 after an accident in her home. The retired professor was at the center of one of 2016’s most inspirational stories. After learning that an eight-story building would be constructed next to Bangkokian Museum, a compound of century-old wooden houses she gifted to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) in 2004, she donated B30 million and called on the public to come up with another B10 million to purchase the adjacent plot of land. Despite a tight two-month deadline, the campaign achieved its goal in only three weeks. We spoke to Varaporn earlier this month, prior to her hospitalization on Jan 15, when she opened up about her hopes for the future of the museum. 


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