Interview with Tada Varich, Vogue Thailand fashion photographer

We had the chance to meet Tada Varich, fashion photographer for Vogue Thailand. He gave us some time during a photoshoot at Airlab studio , which immersed us into his world and the atmosphere of thai fashion.

How did you become a photographer ?
I went to the university in Bangkok to study fine and applied art, graphic design and photography. I started taking pictures and the fashion magazine Image noticed my work. They asked me to work for them. I stayed with this magazine for 4 years. I was young, working a lot and partying a lot as well. I wanted to see the world, to discover new horizons and improve my photography. I saved money and I moved to New York. It was the first time I traveled abroad. When I arrived there, I had no connection, no work and my english was poor. I’ve found a place as a waiter in a restaurant. The first thing I did was to study english. Then I went to a photography school and started to build a new portfolio. I was in contact with many model agencies and I made test shoots for them. When I had a good portfolio, the agency Women Management hired me. They had many world famous top models like Kate Moss. I stayed 3 years in New York. I learned the west culture, I had the habits of local people, I became one of them. It was my second home. Then I came back to Bangkok and my life was changed again. When I arrived there, I needed some times to readapt, even to speak thai like locals.

photo courtesy of Tada Varich

With this experience in NY, did that help you in Bangkok ?
Thai people believe in the West. My book was full of the best and most famous models in the world. That opened all the doors . That’s how I started again in Thailand.

Picture from Pure exhibition in CentralWorld

You work mainly for Vogue ?
In the past I worked for many different magazines. Now I have an exclusivity agreement with Vogue. I can work with other thai magazines but not for international ones like Elle, Officiel etc….

photo courtesy of Tada Varich

What is the concept of Dark Paradise ?
When I work I don’t think too much, I trust my instinct and I like simple things. Dark Paradise is the name of the song of Diana Del Rey. I love this singer.
I did this project for charity. I wanted to bring some light to underprivileged people of Thailand. People that we never see. They don’t go to Siam Paragon, they can’t enjoy a restaurant, we don’t see them so we ignore them. I wanted privileged people to think about them. Hence the title “Dark Paradise”. Thailand in general and Bangkok in particular is a paradise for some people, but not for everybody. Some people live in darkness. The profits of this project will go to them. I selected 3 charities : blind people, disable girls, and students who need help to finance their studies. There was an exhibition at Woof Pack gallery in Bangkok, to show my pictures, and a book is published as well. Profits from the sells will be donated to these charity organisations.

Pictures displayed during the exhibition Dark Paradise at Woof Pack

The concept was to shoot with vintage cameras ?
Yes, I shot with film cameras, sometimes compact cameras and polaroid ; more than 300 rolls of films and 10000 pictures. We selected the top 50 pictures and 26 polaroids . With Impossible Project films, every 20 boxes there are some defects, but that gives charm and uniqueness to the picture.

Konica camera sold by auction during the Dark Paradise exhibition to support charities in Thailand

Why do you like vintage objects ?
Some people call me Vintage! But what you call a vintage camera, when I was young it was not vintage, it was a new camera for me! It’s vintage for the new generations. But I don’t feel it’s vintage to me. It appeals to me more because these are the cameras that I used in the beginning of my career. I connect with film photography more than digital.

photo courtesy of Tada Varich

You collect vintage cars as well ?
I’m using them, I’m not collecting them. Some people buy new cars, I buy ancient cars, and I drive them. I maintain them carefully and they are in very good conditions.

photo courtesy of Tada Varich

How do you find your inspiration, your ideas for a photo shoot, how do you choose to use this car or this setting ?
Some concepts and some ideas come from the client. I try to prepare myself for every situation. Today I’m shooting for Pony Stone. The look, The atmosphere is cool. Tomorrow I might shoot some very commercial cosmetic. So I need to put many kind of energy and I could change what I want. I follow my instinct, I go with the flow.

What is your best souvenir as a photographer ?
Too many! I’m lucky to have my job and I had the chance to do it for a very long time.

Do you plan to do other kind of photography ?
I do. I shoot beautiful models for a long time and I’m very happy with my job. But I’d like to diversify as well. Landscapes, animals. I did already some documentary but it’s not released yet. I will show this work later, it might be released in 3 years from now.

Pictures from the book PURE

Are you often traveling ? what are the countries you prefer for shooting ?
All the places that I have been inspire me. I like to discover new places, new cities.

Picture displayed during the exhibition Dark Paradise at Woof Pack

Do you have another project in the future ?
In my situation I have enough connections to help the photography community in Thailand. Nowadays with the social media everybody becomes a photographer. Some of them are good, and some of them are bad. Some nude pictures are dirty but their photographer call it art. It’s not art. You can shoot nude art but it has to be elegant, evocative, subtil ; if the photographer is talented, that will be artistic. That’s what I try to show with my pictures.
I want to get involved and help photographers to tell the difference, to know what is artistic and how to achieve a good level in their craft.
Actually, it’s about the mind. People mind are becoming more materialistic and spiritual is going down. I want to make a difference.

Follow Tada Varich on his website and Facebook Page

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