Thamarong Wanarithikul leaves his house at eight in the morning to take the Bangkok Skytrain to work. One day, while crossing a pedestrian bridge, he saw a group of men sleeping in the back of a truck that passed right below him. He took a picture with his phone and continued on his way.
That was the first image of 8 a.m., a series of more than 3000 photographs of people commuting to work on the backs of pickup trucks taken from the same pedestrian bridge. Wanarithikul would stick his head out and point his camera downwards, capturing his subjects from above. The striking result is a cross between candid photography and social documentary, exposing the harsh lives of Bangkok’s workers.
Thamarong Wanarithikul 每天早上八点从家出门，然后搭乘曼谷的架空列车上班。某天，正当他穿过人行天桥时，发现一辆载满人的卡车从桥下通过，那些人正在卡车的货架上睡觉。他用手机随手拍下这一幕，转头继续前行。
这是《8 a.m》的第一张照片，而整个系列共有 3000 多张照片。Thamarong 用镜头定格住工人坐在皮卡车后面上下班的景象，所有照片都拍摄于同一座人行天桥上。拍照时，Thamarong 探出身子，将相机瞄准下方，按下快门。这些令人印象深刻的照片即是抓拍，同时带有一定社会纪实性，是曼谷工人生活的真实写照。
In his photos, only a few of the pickup trucks have protective bars or improvised benches. Usually workers sit on the floor, crowded against each other and trying to sleep. When there’s room, they stretch out on the floor, and when there’s not, they get unavoidably entangled in each other’s arms and legs. They often also share space with all kinds of tools—the clearest indication of who they are.
“Based on these clues, I can only assume, but many of them seem to work in construction, as you can see from the helmets and toolboxes,” Wanarithikul says. “You also see things that could relate to plumbing, catering services, delivery services, or similar things.”
He believes that many of them are Burmese migrants who have crossed the border to work in Thailand. Most likely they hold residency permits, because the government is making efforts to formalize their status. But the trucks belong to the companies they work for, and it’s illegal for them to commute this way. “The government turns a blind eye, but if there’s an accident, these people will fly out of the trucks.”
With the high costs of living in central Bangkok, these workers probably travel from outside the city, from places with no access to public transportation. This is a sobering thought: it means they’ve already had a long journey from their homes.
After going back to that same bridge repeatedly over the course of a few months, Wanarithikul began approaching local galleries with his photos. For a long time, he received no answer, until one day, he heard from Manit Sriwanichpoom, a well known local photographer and the owner of the prestigious Kathmandu Photo Gallery.
“Manit noticed that some of my photos were of the same truck, and with the same people. I had realized that before, but it was never my selling point. It was he who told me to tell the story of these people, day after day,” he says.
With a new focus, Wanarithikul began to stand on the bridge for more than 45 minutes every day on his way to work. Because traffic is particularly bad at this hour, he could work on his framing and make interesting observations.
连续拍摄了几个月后，Thamarong 带着这些照片，联系了当地画廊。很长一段时间，他没有得到任何回应，直到一天，他收到 Manit Sriwanichpoom 发来的讯息。Manit 是当地一名著名的摄影师，也是 Kathmandu 画廊的老板。
“Manit 发现我的一些照片拍摄的是同一辆卡车上同样的人。我以前也留意到这一点，但从来没有以此作为拍摄的重点。他建议我可以拍摄下同一辆卡车日复一日的照片，讲述这些人的故事。”Thamarong 解释道。
带着新的拍摄角度，Thamarong 回到天桥上拍摄，常常停留超过45 分钟。由于正值上班高峰，曼谷的交通特别拥挤，这让他可以有时间研究构图，捕捉有趣的画面。
“I couldn’t be late—trucks come more or less at specific times. One comes at eight o’clock, another at eight-fifteen, then eight-twenty, and so on,” he says.”But I would see some trucks three or four times, and then they would never come again. It’s incredibly difficult to take a large number of pictures of the same truck.”
Wanarithkul kept track of the different trucks by their bodywork, markings, and other vehicle details. He divided the series into 15 collections and arranged the images in chronological order.
Thamarong 一般通过车身、标记和其他细节来辨别不同的卡车。他将整个摄影系列分为 15 组，按照时间顺序排列每一组照片。
In one collection of 12 pictures, a young man always sits at the same corner of the truck. At first, his hair is entirely dyed. But as the pictures progress, the color moves through his hair. In the last shot, in which he’s resting his head on the wheel case, only a few hair strands are still dyed. It took Wanarithikul over two months to complete this collection.
Another photoset starts with a boy sleeping in a semi-fetal position. He appears in many of the images alone, but later, two other older men join him, and then, suddenly, he disappears. “This boy is not going to school, he’s going to work,” Wanarithikul says. “He is sleeping under the sun on the back of a truck, and you can tell he has a difficult life.”
其中一组由 12 张照片组成的系列中，一个年轻男孩总是坐在卡车的同一角落。起初，他有一头金色染发，但是随着时间推移，头发的颜色慢慢褪去。在最后一张照片中，他将头靠在车轮保护罩上，隐约只剩下几撮金色的头发。Thamarong 耗时两个多月才完成了整个系列的拍摄。
They tend to sit in the same places every day. They try to sleep or use their phones to pass the time. Most protect their faces from the scalding sun with a piece of cloth, and they all rest uncomfortably on the uneven pickup truck bed. They look drawn and tired—but their day has only just begun.
“8 a.m. says a lot about Bangkok. I take the Skytrain to go to work. It has air conditioning, and it’s fast. But these workers wake up much earlier to sit under the sun for a very long time. We see this every day, and we ignore it,” Wanarithikul says. His series is a stunning visual reminder to anyone oblivious to the abiding inequity of life.
Wanarithikul’s first and only show, held at Kathmandu Gallery in early 2019, opened to wide acclaim. What started as a single snapshot evolved into a study of social conditions and an empathizing portrait of people caught between worlds.
Thamarong 的首场展览（也是至今唯一一场展览），于 2019 年年初在Kathmandu 画廊举行，并受到了广泛好评。从一张手机快照开始，演变成对社会现实的探讨，这些照片以充满同情的态度，展示了那些身处世界夹缝的人们。