Opening tomorrow (Mar 3), Behind Tin Walls is a photography exhibition by Visarut Sankhum that documents the lives of Bangkok's migrant workers who live in temporary tin-wall structures as they build the city's booming luxury condo industry. Here, we speak to Visarut about the project.

How did this project begin?
I walked past this one campsite near Asoke regularly and always wondered what it was like inside, so one day I decided to walk in and explore it. It was a clustered mess but beautiful at the same time. I started going back regularly and it soon became my hangout spot. I realized not many people know what it's like inside these camps, so I decided to photograph it. 

What is it like inside?
There are many small “rooms” made from corrugated metal, about 2x2m each where about six people would cram. Some friends, some families. There’s loads of trash everywhere, even floating around in the toilets. But I can’t really say I was surprised. This is not permanent, though.Once they finish building the condominium, they’ll move to a similar camp elsewhere and start the next construction.

What are your thoughts on the migration situation in Thailand?
It’s a tricky situation. On one hand, there should be better organization and protection for them, like health care, because these people are our work force. On the other hand, many of them are in the country illegally. They might have to accept that conditions here will not be good for them if they remain illegal.

Is this a reflection of the disparity gap here in Thailand?
I wasn’t focusing so much on disparity gap, but rather the extremity of the low labor wages here. While the city runs on commercialism, building more and more condos for maximum profit, here live the people building it, subsisting on the lowest wages.

What message do you hope to convey through this exhibition?
I just want to share with everyone that these are the people who create our homes. This is how they live. This is the contrast. Whatever you want to take from that is up to you. 

Visarut Sankhum is an indepedent photojournalist based in Chiang Mai whose work has been featuered in the The Nation, Trans Border News and Sarakadee Magazine. "Behind Tin Walls" runs between Mar 3-Apr 3 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club Thailand (Penthouse/F, Maneeya Centre, 508/5 Phloen Chit Rd.)