"Heavenly Maidens"

A gentle knock at the door annouced their arrival. Mr Samchai with his palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion gave a slight bow; the "wai" is traditionally observed upon entering a home and is shown as a sign of respect. He introduced me to Miss Year, a dance instructor, and the two young ladies who would be my models. Twenty-six year old Miss Prowrave and twenty-two year old Miss Wilasinee had started to apply their makeup in the car before entering the hotel. I was given permission to photograph them as they prepared their makeup and costume before venturing outside to the hotel grounds. At a small venue for dinner the night before I had asked the owner if he new of anyone who had contact with classically trained dancers. He put me in touch with Mr Samchai and we made arrangements to meet the following day. The biggest obstacle I had was where to photograph the girls. It would have to be a location where they could change and apply their makeup. Transportation and a suitable backdrop would also present a problem. We decided the best option would be our hotel location.

©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
               Miss Wilasinee adjusting eyelashes                    Miss Prowrave applying eye-liner
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
           Mr. Samchai and Miss Year help Miss Wilasinee                        Jeweled Crown called a "Chada"
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
                             Miss Prowrave                                 Miss Wilasinee

Most houses and businesses have a spirit house placed in an auspicious spot.  The house is intended to provide a shelter for spirits which could cause problems for the people if not appeased. An understanding of the spirit house demands firstly an understanding of how deeply superstitious and spiritual Thais are. Around 97% are Buddhist, but their supernatural inclinations are deeply entwined with Animism and Hinduism.  Large banyan trees surrounded the hotel Spirit House, and the grounds well maintained. It was also the only area that would allow some privacy. I had informed  the hotel security prior, and permission was granted.

©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved

                                                                           Manora the Bird Woman

©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
The Nora requires great interpretive skills and experience. To learn this Nora it must be studied from a very young age, so that the body can achieve the flexibility necessary to execute the complicated movements. The female dancers, in fact, follow a demanding exercise regime and a strict discipline.
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
                    Brass fingernail extensions                Designed to accentuate fluid hand movement
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
                                               Thai Dancing ( Ram Thai) and Performance is the art of elegance
©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved ©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
   

Although the traditional performing arts are not as vibrant as they once were, suffering inroads by western entertainments and generally changing tastes, Thai dance drama is not extinct. What survives displays the elegance of an art form refined over centuries and supported by regal patronage.

 


Comments

2.Vanishing Cultures Photography
I appreciate your kind comments Priya, and I am sure the girls would too.
1.Priya Balan(non-registered)
I love their dresses and it is so very beautiful..love the colors and jewelry and the different poses.. The girls look very pretty in their attires!
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