I was completely taken aback when my cell phone pinged, “Congrats @susanseubert winning #NATJA gold for your photos in ‘Saving Old Bangkok’ in the Aug/Sept 2014 @NatGeoTravel.” The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) had held its annual competition for excellence in travel publishing and I was awarded gold in the category of Photo Essay. Since I hadn’t entered, I had no idea I was even up for an award! I would like to thank my editors and the entire staff of National Geographic Traveler for giving me this fantastic assignment as well as congratulate the magazine for winning the grand prize for Travel Publications! Go Team NGT!!!!
National Geographic Traveler had assigned me to photograph a story about a small group of people in the old city of Bangkok who are actively working to preserve some of the remarkable wooden houses and other structures in the neighborhoods on Rattanakosin Island, on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River. The project is being spearheaded by architect Worapan Klampaiboon, who has a small guesthouse on Samsen 5, the Samsen 5 Lodge. I spent just over two weeks wandering the streets photographing the people, guesthouses, neighborhoods, markets and temples that are all located in this area. One of my favorite places to explore was around one of the guesthouses, Baan Dinso. Everywhere, daily life spilled on to the streets. Being able to spend time walking through the narrow roads of these areas allowed me to experience what the architect saw: an architecturally important area that had fallen into disrepair but was still salvageable. I photographed a group of old wooden homes that had been transformed into an arts center by a kindly couple who happened to be friends with my translator. This ended up being one of the opening pictures along side an outdoor bathtub at a renovated guest house, the Old Bangkok Inn. You can read the story here. Thank you for visiting!