Little Box conversation
Please tell us a little about yourself
Hi, my name is Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet aka Poupay. I’m from Thailand but I am currently living and working as a freelance photographer based in New York City.
When did your passion for photography begin, why did you become interested in it and why is it important to you?
I had my first camera when I was in high school and started taking photos then. Photography plays an important role in my life. At first it was for fun. Then I became more serious with it so I decided to quit my job and went to NYC to study photography at ICP (International Center of Photography School). At ICP, I started to understand that photography always reflects your inner self. I learnt that through the process of shooting and editing, I can understand what I see and what I am interested in. Photography helps me to define who I am and where I belong.
Your work is quite funny and quirky! Can you tell us what attracts you to taking this type of photo?
Sarcasm is in my veins. I am attracted to the type of art which talks about our society in a black comedy voice. Films, fine art and photography itself. I love Martin Parr and Maurizio Cattelan (the founder of Toilet Paper magazine). They both have dark humour in their work.
You are originally from Thailand but live in the US. Many Thai based photographers have a distinctive style. Why do you think this is, and do you think it is a reflection of the Thai culture?
I think in relation to this question, we have to dig deep into the roots of Thai culture. You can see that so much of the work of Thai people is funny. The culture is based on comedy. Thai people love to make jokes in any context. They can turn anything, even harsh stuff, into funny memes and jokes. So I think it is the same reason for Thai photography. Most of their pictures are about comedy, comedy, and comedy.
Your work is mostly in colour. Do you ever work in black and white? Can you tell us why you prefer colour?
I never shoot in black and white. I am drawn only to colour photography. It gives me the mood I want.
Many street photographers talk about getting into the zone. Does this happen for you and describe what this is like for you.
When I was younger, I was so hard on myself. I went out shooting every single day and got down when I didn’t get a good photo. It was all about listening to some people telling you need to get perfect single image. Growing up and getting more experience through doing more work, has changed my perspective. I think there are various ways of making work. Now I’m more relaxed, but still focused.
Have you ever had any negative encounters or scary situations happen while out photographing?
Like every street photographer, I have been asked not to take a picture or to delete a photo. I always respect the person or the situation I am photographing so if they feel uncomfortable, I just simply delete the photos. So it has never gone too far.
Do you have any projects you are currently working on and if so, can you tell us a little about them?
Yes, I photograph trash to make it look pretty.
Is there a particular photographer who has influenced your work or the way you see?
My teacher said my work has a similar mood to the work of Martin Parr. He also is one of my favourite artists. Lately I found that every idea of mine has already been done by Parr so I’m trying to move away from him. I often ask myself what I want from my own photography. In my opinion, the thing that most influences an artist is their own history.
Tell us the most important thing you have learned from being a street photographer?
There is no absolute right way to make work. The ‘How-to’ article is nonsense. Also, being trapped by praise and fame will not improve your work. You will make empty art if you only care about success.