House of Photography
The Chiang Mai House of Photography was established to collect and preserve photographs for the documentation and understanding of northern Thai culture. Through the collection, local people are made aware of their living heritage and how it is founded in the history of the ancient Lanna kingdom. Developed in co-operation with Chiang Mai University, it offers an extensive resource that is accessible to the public.
Photography was one of the most successful of western techniques to be imported into Thailand in the 19th century. The collection comes from many sources. Most importantly, it includes the work of local photographers. They documented people, places and events through portraiture, landscape and event photography for the purposes of documentation, memorialization and journalism. Secondly, it includes the artistic and cultural heritage of Lanna through the use of photography as an archival and educational resource. Finally, all photographs are digitalized and catalogued. The collection is made available on site as well as online.
A research library of books, articles and documents related to the photographic process and profession in the area supplements the photography, showing how it has been used through time. The goal is to strengthen the domestic photographic industry by giving value to photography as a cultural asset, leading to the creation of more distinct and outstanding works.
The Chiang Mai House of Photography shares a compound with the Lanna Folklife Museum. Located at the center of the old city of Chiang Mai, it was founded through collaboration between Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre and the Photographic Art Program of Media Arts and Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University. It includes the Lanna Photo Gallery, established in the historic court residential building. The Photographic Art Program provided the budget to design spaces to accommodate the following four functions:
1. Conservation and Research Center : This is the hub for operations regarding data collection, preservation and dissemination of information. It is the reference source for researchers studying photography and for creative research on the art of photography.
2. Temporary Exhibition Space : The upper floor of the House provides a creative showcase for photographic exhibition. It is reserved for dissemination of knowledge and academic performance. The presentations include both traditional and contemporary works selected by curators working with the Lanna Photo Gallery.
3 . The Photography Library : Photos for research have been conserved in both digital and analog data. The library includes photographs, books of photography and educational publications on photography. In addition, research articles related to technical aspects of photography are also available. The library is available for public access. It may be explored on the first floor of the House of Photography or visited via the website.
4 .Training and Events : A versatile space has been created at the entrance level. It offers an area for activities. These may include meetings, workshops and other activities. The space is designed to accommodate up to 60 persons.