Photographers and Photography – Chiang Mai of the Past – EP 1

This exhibition brings together the work of photographers living and practicing their profession in Chiang Mai of the past. It begins with those taken by Luang Anusarn who opened the first photography studio in Chiang Mai, named Chua Yong Seng, around 1889. His work is well known for documentation of Chiang Mai’s historical identity. This led to the arrival of the Japanese photographer Morinosuke Tanaka, known to local residents as M. Tanaka. He opened the second photography studio in Chiang Mai around 1911. These two early photographers lay the foundation for Boonserm Satrabhaya, known for his great contribution to the creative photographic tradition of our city.

Exploring the work of photographers in Chiang Mai, photographs from the Boonma, Tekman, Janman, Jaiyaluk studios are also offered, along with works by photographers from other countries, taken between 1954 and 1961. Presented in the Gallery at the House of Photography, located next to the Chiang Mai Folk Arts Museum, across from the 3 Kings Monument on Phrapokklao Road, Chiang Mai, the exhibition is open to the public from February 8 th to May 10 th , 2019, excepting Mondays.

Luang Anusarn Sunthorn

Luang Anusarn Sunthorn was born as Soonhi Chutima in the 12 th month of the Year of the Rabbit, November 1867, in Ban Tungku Chang, Lampoon. Upon the passing of his mother, his father moved to Chiang Mai, near Wat Ketkaram. Luang Anusarn stayed with his elder sister at Ban Pakbong in Ampur Pasang, Lampoon until, at age 16, he moved to Chiang Mai to live with his father. At 18, with his father’s passing, Luang Anusarn took over and expanded the family business, constructed a small wooden house and handmade furniture for use and sale. He also created lantern and clock holders and became known for his creations and photography. At age 21 he married Miss Khamthieng (Mrs. Anusarn Sunthorn) and they had 6 children. He then married Miss Anocha with whom he had 5 more children and in 1882 established the families known today as “Nimmanhaemin” and “Chutima”. Luang Anusarn Sunthorn and Nang Khamthieng opened Chua Hong Seng in the area of Wichayanon Road in 1899 and built a concrete building for the Anusarn Dunthorn Company in Chiang Mai. Luang Anusarn was a successful businessman with extensive connections, opening a commercial center and photography studio. He studied photography with Phraya Charoen Rachamaitri (Jamnong Amatayakul). His studio was regularly patronized by government officials, merchants and wealthy families, including foreign residents in the region. The Chua Hong Seng Studio became the first professional photography business in Chiang Mai, established by the first local professional photographer.

M. Tanaka

M. Tanaka was a Japanese photographer who had studios in both Lampang and Chiang Mai. He first worked in Lampang, for two years, in 1909 and 1910. In 1911 he moved to Chiang Mai and opened his studio at the Naowarat Bridge next to the Christian School. M. Tanaka specialized in portrait photography and became highly respected and patronized by people of all backgrounds. This exhibition focuses upon the portraits taken by him that illustrate his extensive experience.


Boonma Studio was owned by Khun Boonma Phinyo. It is now closed. It was located on a road along the Maenam Ping just past M. Tanaka’s studio at the present location of the Superstore. We do not currently have information as to when it opened and when it closed.


Tekman Studio was owned by Tekman Saejang. It is now closed. It was located near the Mae Ka Bridge on Chang Moi Road, at the present location of the Jaranturakij company building. The Tekman Studio was opened around 1947 and closed in 1975.

Photographs of the Songkran Festival

These are photographs taken by Boonserm Satraphaya, documenting the 1964 Songkhran Festival celebrating the Thai New Year. They were taken along the Maenam Ping riverbanks and from the Naowarat Bridge.

Naowarat Bridge

Boonserm Satrabhaya documented the 2 nd Naowarat Bridge in 1966 and the construction of the 3 rd bridge in 1967. It is an example of how he documented the history of Chiang Mai.

Temple Photographs using Infra-red Film

These photographs by Boonserm Satrabhaya show his work using and developing infra-red film, which was a very complicated process. They illustrate his talent and technical professionalism in this field.

Germane Krill

These are the work of an American photographer who worked in Chiang Mai from 1955-1962. Germane Krill documented many temples and objects, often from an unusual perspective. They share a different point of view with local residents.