The world has been reading about and watching television footage of the devastating floods sweeping Thailand. Fortunately the worst seems to be over and now the citizens and authorities have the unenviable task of undertaking the massive cleanup operation. Among the numerous human stories of tragedy and struggle is another that understandably has received less media coverage but in the long term, can have just as profound effect on the local community as the more immediate physical effect of the flooding. This is the damage to, and in some cases total loss, of historic monuments and artefacts.
While it is easy to communicate to the international community the effects of the devastation on local citizens with graphic news clips and reports, it is harder to convey the loss of cultural (and in some cases natural) heritage assets.
That is where photography, with its ability to communicate directly and effectively across cultural and language boundaries, comes into its own.
The first of the following photos, taken at the Thai World Heritage site of Ayutthaya is a graphic illustration of how these fragile locations can be so easily threatened and over run.
Many sites are already fragile and prone to natural (and often man-made) damage or even destruction. Photography can capture these locations for posterity as well as promote to a wide audience the values and significance of a particular location. One of the reasons why Our Place documents these sites is to generate a quality archive of the key elements that constitute the sites inscribed on the UNESCO
Hopefully our photos also inspire us to do our up most to preserve and protect this important legacy, and when they have been damaged, encourage us to participate in their restoration and conservation.
Director - Our Place World Heritage.
Top image: taken during the 2011 floods
Bottom image: Our Place photo - taken prior to the 2011 floods