Brent Lewin August 2, 2010Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Thailand.
Brent Lewin (b. 1979, Canada) is a self-taught photographer currently residing in Toronto and Bangkok. His work has largely focused on the plight of the Asian elephant and their caregivers in Thailand. Brent’s work has been awarded by Pictures of the Year, Px3, the International Photography Awards and American Photo. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, New York Times Lens Blog, Discovery Channel Magazine and Geo. He was recently selected as one of the photographers for the PDN 30 in 2010. Brent is a contributing photographer with Redux Pictures.
About the Photograph:
“I began photographing Bangkok’s street elephants and their caretakers in 2007. Pictured is a mahout washing her pet elephant Boopae at their temporary camp site. For me, watching the mahout’s ritual washing of their elephants is a touching demonstration of the deep bond shared between human and elephant. A bond that stretches back several hundred years among the Kui. The Kui, translating to ‘the people’, are an ethnic minority in Thailand that have traditionally made their living from capturing wild elephants and have disdained conventional work. The Kui are concentrated in a collection of villages in Surin province. Village leadership and administration are closely associated with the elephant shaman, and the local economy to the elephant. The villages have long been known for their role in capturing wild elephants to be sold onward for war or heavy labor. The Kui caught their last elephant in Thailand in 1970 and have been keeping them as pets ever since.”