these photographs, Anglo-Australian photographer Philip
Blenkinsop camped out in the back of an ambulance belonging
to Poh Tech Teung, an independent rescue and body recovery company
in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the absence of a government-run institution,
Poh Tech Teung were among a number of recovery groups. When word
of an accident got out, they sped out into the heat of the Bangkok
night in an effort to get the incident first.
There were a lot of accidents.Bangkok has ten million
people and three million vehicles (450 new vehicles appear on the roads
every day). Traffic laws are few; those that do exist are wholly ignored.
Blenkinsop says the Thai’s seemingly total disregard of street-signs,
traffic-lights, lanes and other motorists can be viewed two different
ways. "The Western way, irresponsible and negligent with an almost
blatant disregard for human life, or the Thai way, a sort of subconscious
poetic blend of technology and karma on wheels at high speed, where only
the dead deserve to die."
Night after night, Blenkinsop captured image afterimage
of wreckage, collision and carnage. "Traveling the streets with
Poh Tech Teung unlocked the door to my store-room full of western-instilled
sensibilities and shone an unforgiving light on the senseless waste left
behind in the burnt-rubber wakes of Bangkok’s speeding vehicles," he
Blenkinsop adds that after a while he began to view the automobile as
some sort of once faithful pet that had turned on its master and was
now breeding at an alarming rate, "Committed to turning the tables
on its unsuspecting passengers at every opportunity."
Film-reel after bloody film-reel is testament enough. Yet,
he says, "No one wanted to accept these shocking yet common-place scenes." He
only found a publisher brave enough after many months of searching. The result
is the book, `The Cars that Ate Bangkok’. An unashamedly shocking and
thought-provoking volume, it tackles the horror of automobile induced waste
in today’s society.
"There is a dark force in every vehicle just waiting for
the opportunity to take control," Blenkinsop says. By publishing
these images he hopes that if just one person contemplates the lives that have
been lost to conquering force,"then the faces on these pages will have
achieved something even as their spirits walk. Maybe then they will at last
be able to rest."