Meet the acclaimed Thai artist who’s turning to nature for his photographic subjects, to tell hard-hitting stories.
Formerly an interior designer, photographer Tom Potisit specializes in creative fashion photography. He’s been featured in publications from Italian Vogue to Hello Magazine and his portfolio features striking artistic and underwater portraits. Speaking at the TEDx talk series at Thammasat University, however, he explained that taking pictures of glamorous models wasn’t enough.
A burgeoning passion for aerial photography (which he took up to combat his fear of flying) led Tom to become involved in the preservation and documentation of manatee populations in the northern Gulf of Thailand. Increasingly involved in conservation activities, it wasn’t until a Bryde’s Whale mysteriously washed up just outside Bangkok that Tom truly began to combine his passions.
In the resulting photo series, The Last Farewhale, Tom placed a fashion model next to the vast mammal, beached in a mangrove swamp in Samut Sakorn, hoping the incongruity of the images would bring attention to the incident. It put him on the front page of Thai newspapers, and from there the story was translated by media outlets all over the world. By combining fashion – an accessible, relatable image – with a message he felt strongly about, Tom discovered his creative power to reach a wider audience and raise awareness on critical environmental and social issues.
He continued to wield that power with a more recent series, The Boy Who Grows Up Among the Seashells, which follows the story of the struggle of Phuket’s Morgan fishing community to hold onto their land rights.
At Wonderfruit, Tom combines his passion for preserving the ocean with a return to the use of fashion and design as an attention-grabber, by teaming up with emerging artist Jitjer to create Little Monsters. To raise awareness of the increasingly fragile interdependence between man and ocean, his mutated sea creatures made from waste products collected by Trash Hero Thailand, will be roaming The Fields – look out for them.