06 September 2019

Prism of Photography:
Dispersion of Knowledge and Memories of the 6th October Massacre

Prism of Photography

Prism of Photography: Dispersion of Knowledge and Memories of the 6th October Massacre (ปริซึมของภาพถ่าย: การแตกตัวขององค์ความ รู้และความทรงจำว่าด้วยเหตุการณ์ 6 ตุลา) is a visual archive of the 6th October 1976 massacre at Thammasat University, “one of the bloodiest massacres in the history of modern Thailand.” It includes Thai newspaper front pages, photographs taken by journalists at Thammasat, and autopsy photographs of the massacre victims. The images are primarily sourced from the Documentation of Oct 6 (บันทึก 6 ตุลา) website.

Surprisingly, the most iconic image from 6th October, Neal Ulevich’s picture of a man preparing to beat a hanging corpse with a chair, is not included. Nevertheless, the book has a more comprehensive collection of photographs than previous publications on the massacre, such as สมุดภาพเดือนตุลา: ประมวลภาพเหตุการณ์ 14 ตุลาคม 2516 และ 6 ตุลาคม 2519 (‘picture book of 14th October 1973 and 6th October 1976’).

Most significantly, it’s the first book to reprint the notorious Dao Siam (ดาวสยาม) front page from 6th October 1976. Dao Siam’s headline and accompanying photo have been much discussed though seldom, if ever, reproduced. For example, the headline appears in พลกแผนด นประวตการเมองไทย 24 มย 2475 ถง 14 ตค 2516 (‘overturning the history of Thai politics from 23rd June 1932 to 14th October 1973’), though the photograph was blacked out. Exceptionally, the complete front page appeared in the June 2012 issue of Sarakadee (สำรคดี) magazine.

Prism of Photography, by Thanavi Chotpradit and Kornkrit Jianpinidnan, is available at the Bangkok Art Book Fair 2019, at CityCity Gallery from 5th to 8th September. The book is limited to 500 copies. Kornkrit also produced a photobook for लिंगम् Project 2018 (‘linga project 2018’).