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For 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 says.
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."

By David Robinson