6 August 2013 by Luke McCormick
‘Hidden Realms, Sacred Places', an exhibition by British born photographer Martin Reeves is set to open later this month at Tamarind Village Chiang Mai.
The exhibition's 35 striking images take the viewer on a journey across Southeast Asia to some of the region's most sacred and enigmatic sites, from the temples of Angkor to the crumbling stupas of Inle Lake in Myanmar's Shan State and the little known Khmer mountaintop temple Wat Phou, situated overlooking the Mekong River in southern Laos.
The 35 photographs on display reflect Reeves fascination with Asia's mysticism and the magnetic power of its holy places, many of which are today in danger of disappearing or changing rapidly and beyond recognition.
"Pictures form a visual landscape in my mind, filled with frozen memories that I can thaw in a flash with a glance, returning me to a life that I no longer lead. Photographs allow me to cross over into a past world from which I am physically barred. And the more time passes and the older I get, the more I cherish this journey back through time. It's through this journey that I came to realize the emotional power of images," said Reeves.
Reeves's life-changing journey began some 27 years ago on a nine-week trip through India where he discovered not only his love for Asia, but also the beauty of shooting with Kodak infrared black and white film. This specialty film produces results, which could nowadays be mistaken for the effects of computer manipulation, due to the otherworldly quality it imparts to images.
Infrared black-and-white film's unique emulsion is sensitive to infrared light, a portion of light from the bandwidth invisible to the naked eye. After processing, it becomes an ordinary black-and-white negative, and yet it reveals in a photo, light from a world hidden from us, beyond the rainbow spectrum of colours.
Using this film, images take on a soft, dream-like dimension perfectly suited to Reeves's favourite subjects: ruined temples, crumbling statuary and Buddhist monasteries, remote landscapes and the people that inhabit them.
Since making his home in Thailand in 1996, the photographer, who is also a filmmaker, has worked with Discovery Channel Asia to create a series of short documentary films about the Black Hmong people set in mountainous north Vietnam.
He also wrote and published the book, ‘Angkor: Into The Hidden Realm' on the temples of Angkor which he began photographing back in 1992 when Cambodia was still suffering under the crippling influence of the Khmer Rouge.
Cambodia's King, H.R.H Norodom Sihamoni, later selected four of his photographs as state gifts. In 2007, Reeves was also invited to contribute work to the celebrated, ‘Thailand: 9 Days In The Kingdom' book project, a stunning pictorial review of Thai life and culture dedicated to His Majesty, King Bhumiphol Adulyadej, on the occasion of the monarch's birthday.
Tamarind Village Chiang Mai, regularly hosts cultural events and exhibitions related to local culture, and says its pleased to collaborate with Reeves's on his latest project.
"The enchanting images of ‘Hidden Realms, Sacred Spaces', reveal the magic and poetry of places rarely captured these days, inviting us to delve into a world beyond what the eye can see to discover the beauty of cultures and beliefs lost in a time long ago," the hotel said in a statement.
The exhibition will be on display until 18 November 2013. For more on our travel options to Thailand, see our Thailand holidays page.