Photography Free-For-All in Bangkok

Demonstrators in Bangkok

Two months of anti-government street protests continued today in Bangkok, as more and more photojournalists have arrived from around the world to capture the story in images.

But the pros aren’t the only ones with cameras.

Bangkok Dangerous

Since many of the protesters, known as the Red Shirts, have camped, demonstrated and fought in an area near where tourists spend a lot of time, there have been scads of sightseers running around taking pictures as well.

Even after guns were fired and more than 20 people, including a Japanese cameraman, were killed in the popular tourist area of Khao San Road, vacationers have persisted in photographing the protests and risking their lives.

Many of the demonstrators also have been taking pictures — of each other and the events as they have unfolded.

Their photographic interests include members of the media. World Press Photo winner Jack Picone, for example, found himself the subject and model for many such images.

Tourist Trap

I suppose after the amazing pictures that emerged from last year’s Iranian protests, anyone with a camera thinks they can just turn up, shoot some photographs, put them on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and alter the course of history.

But it’s not that simple.

Many Iranian photographers — amateurs as well as pros — were killed, jailed and tortured for taking those pictures. Demonstrations have a habit of deteriorating very quickly into a dangerous situation, and people die.

Sometimes, Twitter fame isn’t worth the cost.