Photography Portfolio of Kevin Landwer-Johan

Ethnic Minorities (Hill Tribe People)

Photographing Ethnic Minorities (Hill Tribe people) In Thailand

I’ve always enjoyed visiting villages and photographing ethnic minorities in Thailand. The northern regions of Thailand are home to many diverse ethnicities. These people have lived in the mountains long before current political borders were established. Most of these people now live a modern lifestyle. They enjoy the benefits of better housing and infrastructure.

Over the years I’ve I have enjoyed many opportunities to photograph special occasions. I have attended:

  • Karen weddings,
  • Akha harvest festivals
  • and Hmong New Year celebrations,

to mention a few.

These are times where people will wear their finest traditional clothing. As a result it makes for a photographer’s paradise. Most of the time though, people in the villages wear westernized street clothes. So they are without the visual appeal of their colorful customary costumes.

The Best Locations for Photographing Ethnic Minorities

The best locations to capture these cultures are in model villages. These are set up to showcase the various tribal groups and traditional lifestyles. At first I was hesitant to begin taking our photography workshops to Ban Thong Luang. This was because of negative comments I had heard. I am pleased we did visit for ourselves. Because we found that it is a positive situation for the people who work there. We have come to know many of them and build some special friendships.

This location is close to Chiang Mai and easy to access. If you have time and are lucky, you might still find some older folk wearing traditional clothing. Usually they are in remote villages which are difficult to reach. In such remote locations photographers are not always welcome. One all the trips I have made photographing ethnic minorities I was with someone who could introduce me.

If you’re interested to learn more about hill tribe tourism in Thailand, please read this article on my blog.