A talk on Burma and the launch of a book, Burmese Shadows, by photographer-writer Thierry Falise will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok. Admission is free.
This is Falise's fourth book, and his first in English: works include a biography on Aung San Suu Kyi, a documentary account of the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, and a novel based on Johnny and Luther Htoo, the twin boys who led the ragtag God's Army of Karen rebels near the border at Ratchaburi a decade ago.
Falise’s coverage includes democracy leader Suu Kyi to the notorious drug lord Khun Sa, Wa villagers tending opium fields in the far north, Shan troops training at mountain strongholds, thousands of monks protesting in central Yangon during the 2007 uprising and scenes of devastation after Cyclone Nargis.
Falise, 55, worked with the Associated Press in Paris in the mid-'80s before travelling to Bangkok to do freelance work during his holidays.
In 1991, he resigned and moved to Thailand to cover Southeast Asia.
“It was still a sort of golden age for journalism”, he said, according to an article in The Nation.
The following year Falise was badly injured at the start of the protests in Bangkok against the Suchinda military regime while photographing a scene of anarchy near the Phanfa Bridge.
Undeterred, he continued doing stories for papers and magazines, in Europe mainly. “I always prefer to be alone on a story, than to be with 100 other guys on a picture – I hate that,” he said.
“Not many jobs allow us to do this,” he said. “But I don't buy the word 'lucky', for being able to do this. It's my choice. It's certainly a way to be free. But it has a cost – sometimes you don't have a project for months.”