In these modern times, we’re distracted by the internet world that’s easily accessible on our smartphones. It’s interesting to observe people walking along city streets or commuting home from work on a subway train. More often than not, people keep their heads down, consumed by the tiny electronic universe in their hands.
After spending a year in New York, Thai photographer Benz Thanachart returned home to find these antisocial trends extremely unsettling. He began to feel incredibly disconnected with his hometown and he says, “At that time, although I was in my hometown, the feeling of unfamiliarity gradually emerged.” In reaction to this, Thanachart decided to start this project, entitled Smartphone, in which he says, “I got into the subway, shouted out a random word that is completely unrelated to the situation and then captured that moment. It was the moment when everyone was getting out of their small worlds and noticing the presence of public space.”
In the series, Thanachart pairs each photograph with the word he shouted out to capture hilariously confused and inquisitive expressions. The combination of reactions is really quite entertaining! Some people look shocked, some look perplexed, and others seem completely unaffected by the presence of a stranger on their subway train, shouting words like “omelette” and “alligator.” The black and white series is a statement on modern technology, and Thanachart can be commended for briefly bringing people out of cyberspace and back into the real world that surrounds them.