Tachpasit Kunaporn is a Thai photographer currently based in New York. His series, “Neon Diary” is an ongoing journal of his life and travels. The project was prompted by the passing of his grandmother, whom he had a very close relationship to. Focusing on documenting his feelings in relation to places and events, Tachpasit pursues a non-figurative way to display his life’s ongoing journey.
As glimmering vignettes of unnamed cities catch the edges of his lens, Tachpasit tries to make sense of his own existential anxieties through his photography. Having spent a lot of time away from his family, Tachpasit continues to amble with a sense of wonder, creating images that reflect upon distance and isolation. With the idea of death constantly at the back of his mind, Tachpasit imbues each one of his photographs with questions of his own mortality and purpose: What will be left behind when it’s time for the inevitable final goodbye?
Tell us a bit more about yourself — how did you decide to become a photographer?
You can call me Trin. I graduated from Bangkok University, Communication Arts. I then took a full-time program from International Center of Photography where I graduated in 2017. In Thailand I’m a full-time wedding photographer. I also freelance doing other photography related jobs. I decided to become a photogragrapher because the world behind the camera always amazed me, in addition to providing me with a sense of relief.
Where have you lived? Tell us more about the places that you’ve called (or call) home.
I lived in Bangkok and Phuket back and forth for many years. I grew up in Phuket and lived there until I had to move to Bangkok for university. I stayed in Bangkok until I moved to New York in 2016. Home, for me, does not have a clear meaning or definition. I feel at home wherever I get to lift up my camera and look through the viewfinder, even when sometimes I feel like I am missing the time spent with my family. Home for me is not a really a place or tangible things, but a memory — the time I’ve spent with my family. Home is inside my heart and consciousness.
Tell us more about the genesis of “Neon Diary”?
Neon Diary came together when I went back to my archive and saw the connection between two photographs: my grandmother’s coffin and the corner of my bed in hotel somewhere. When I saw the two photographs together, I started to think about ideas of death and mortality. Two two photos were very similar in how they were photographed. The reason I chose the name of this series as ‘Neon Diary’ is inspired by the way we see neon lights. Through our eyes, neon lights feel very still and quiet although they are actually flickering. In my mind, I compare this seemingly consistent uncertainty as the circle of life. This series is a journal that helps me to contemplate death and mortality in a disciplined manner.
Why is your relationship with your grandmother unique?
My grandmother was always kind to me. She was like my second mother. It’s very typical relationship between me and her. Even when I saw her took her last breath I could feel her kindness. In her last moments, she held my hands until the last few minutes. She put my hand down before she passed. This experience is something that I feel is unique.
How do you describe your relationship with your family? Do you see them often? Have living away from them in a different country affected your relationship?
If I have to describe myself relationship with my family, I have to compare myself to the herd that need to immigrate from winter to another place and return back when it is the summer, like a never-ending loop. I see my parents a few times a year. I see them to refresh my energy and also to hear their complaints, specifically from my mother (who, despite it all, is still relieved that I am her son.) Living away from my family doesn’t affect me that much because the world feels much smaller through the Internet. The only thing that always frightens me is the possibility of not seeing them on their last moments.
What is your favorite movie lately? Why?
Right now, I am really interested in “Altered Carbon” because it plays with interesting ideas about identity and the human mind. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it.
To see more of Tachpasit’s work, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.
This Feature is part of Collection: A Family, a release by TAGTAGTAG exploring photographic works on the ideas surrounding contemporary families.