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  • PATRICK BROWN: My photographs are different from me.

  • The photograph's a record of what's been

  • happening in front of me.

  • It's not something I've constructed.

  • If I'm able to give a voice for that situation, then I've

  • achieved my objective.

  • And that's really important to me as an individual, but also

  • as a photographer.

  • I love Bangkok for exactly the same reasons I hate it.

  • I love it for its noise.

  • I love it for its intensity, sweatiness.

  • And there's always some treasure troves in Bangkok.

  • And for all those reasons, it just drives me bonkers

  • sometimes, and I have to leave.

  • But every place in the world must drive people crazy and

  • happy at the same time.

  • My name is Patrick Brown.

  • I'm a photographer.

  • I've been based in Thailand for the last 12 years.

  • And this is home for me for the while.

  • [SPEAKING THAI]

  • PATRICK BROWN: I've traveled all my live,

  • since I was about five.

  • Originally from England, from Sheffield.

  • Grew up in the Middle East.

  • I spent some time in South Africa.

  • And I spent some time in Canada.

  • And finally, the family settled in

  • Australia when I was 13.

  • I'm still doing what I did when I was a young boy.

  • I'm still travelling, still meeting interesting people.

  • I think photography for me was the best visa I've never had

  • in my life.

  • I've been with racing car drivers

  • I've been with homeless.

  • I've been with drug addicts.

  • I've been with politicians.

  • I've been with royalty.

  • It's one of the best vehicles to move in and out of

  • societies that normally you wouldn't be able to navigate

  • your way through.

  • That's my car that I rebuilt when I was 18, modeled on an

  • old English car.

  • Took me about three months to rebuild it, maybe even a bit

  • longer, actually.

  • I'm trained as a tool-maker, which is somebody that makes

  • machines and stuff.

  • I really enjoy working with my hands.

  • And I like the craft of photography, not just taking

  • the photograph or the equipment, but actually I like

  • to produce a photograph.

  • I like to go in the darkroom.

  • I find the darkroom very therapeutic, just dodging

  • between the light and making a photograph

  • darker or lighter here.

  • And it's hand-printed.

  • You can never make another print exactly the same.

  • And I find that really adorable.

  • I was incredibly naive about what documentary

  • photography could do.

  • I was working in a multi-story carpark.

  • And I saw a little snippet about this guy

  • in the local rag.

  • And he was in Africa, where he was the only surgeon for 2 and

  • 1/2 million people.

  • So I sold my car and my surfboard and went over there

  • and documented him.

  • And I was there for six weeks.

  • Six weeks was all I could get off for work.

  • And I came back to Australia, had an exhibition.

  • It raised a lot of money for--

  • his name is Robert Weeden.

  • We made awareness for him in Australia.

  • And then it was published in Australia.

  • And it won a couple of awards.

  • It was one of the pivotal points when I realized you

  • could actually make a difference with a photograph.

  • And it wasn't until about '96, '98 that I made a decision I

  • could actually make money from this.

  • And then started to do more and more work with magazines

  • in Australia.

  • This is all animal trade, by the way, full of animal stuff.

  • As you can see, everything's under alphabetical order.

  • Only I know where to find it.

  • A colleague convinced me, just get out of

  • Australia and come to Asia.

  • Have a look around.

  • If you don't like it, you can move on.

  • And then I ended up in Chiang Mai and met

  • some Burmese refugees.

  • They gave me access to places I would never be able to get

  • to, and opened up a whole world to me that I really

  • didn't know existed to the extent that it did, and that

  • was the Burmese border.

  • This is on the Thai-Burma border near [INAUDIBLE].

  • And then you've got actually real tiger

  • teeth, and tiger claws.

  • And these are different tiger teeth.

  • And they have different value where they come from.

  • These are used as potency, or protective elements regarding

  • the person that wears them.

  • They have amulets on them, or into key chains

  • and things like that.

  • "Trading to Extinction," I started working on it in 2002.

  • This is my first solo book.

  • And I had no idea what the animal trade was about.

  • For me, the animal trade was little trinkets selling in

  • shops at that stage.

  • And most of the world, I think in some way, thought the same.

  • Four years ago, the statistic was $52 billion annually.

  • That's what the animal trade is worth, which rivals some of

  • the biggest electronic industries.

  • One of my favorite statistics from this whole project is

  • that there's more Bengali tigers in Texas than there is

  • in the Bay of Bengal.

  • It's a huge industry.

  • And I would be still working on this until

  • probably the day I die.

  • So there had to be some physicality

  • of boundaries placed.

  • Southeast Asia was the spot.

  • And plus, I live here.

  • It made it quite logical.

  • This is patrolling in southern Cambodian in a

  • place called Bokor.

  • That was really quite an amazing trip, that one.

  • The first story I did was anti-poaching team in Bokor.

  • And this anti-poaching team, we'd go in on a night

  • insurgence.

  • And we would hunt down or trace down the poaching team.

  • And most of the guys in the actual anti-poaching team are

  • actually ex-poachers, because there's nothing better than a

  • poacher to catch a poacher.

  • He knows his routine and he knows his habits.

  • They're about to plan to do a night insurgence, which I have

  • to say is one of the scariest things to do, because you're

  • in total darkness.

  • And you can only just see the person in front of you.

  • And the way your eyes work, the center of your retina is

  • actually damaged from the amount of sun it's had.

  • So you have to look out of the corner of your eye.

  • That's the most sensitive part of your eye.

  • That was a pretty intense trip, that one.

  • This is a poacher that's been caught.

  • And that's his name, his age, and the crime, and where it

  • was, and the date, obviously.

  • And they did it to all the poachers that they captured.

  • I have quite a lot of empathy for the poachers.

  • A majority of the poachers are just doing what their

  • ancestors have done, which is hunt.

  • The Cambodian poachers that I went with, I think they got

  • $10 or $15 for each monkey--

  • very, very little money.

  • They have very, very little knowledge of where that

  • product's going to go.

  • This is pretty much all I'll be taking.

  • So take my four cameras, my Polaroid, the Rolleiflex and

  • my two Nikons, and three lenses, and my film bag.

  • Welcome to Guangzhou from Bangkok.

  • Guangzhou is close to the Hong Kong border.

  • It's southwest China.

  • And it's the economic powerhouse for this region.

  • It's very close to Tianjin, which is the manufacturing

  • powerhouse of China.

  • Due to the wealth of the manufacturing of Tianjin and

  • the money that's come in to this area, this has always

  • been a fruitful place for animal trafficking.

  • What I'm hoping to achieve is to see where we are five years

  • down the track.

  • It's a 10-year project.

  • So where was I halfway through this project I was

  • here the last time.

  • It's good to come back and relive it and

  • see where we are.

  • And what I'm hoping to find is that things

  • maybe have moved on.

  • I don't think the trade is in any way dwingled.

  • I think they've just got smarter about hiding it.

  • They're not as confident as the used to be.

  • They know these things do get out into the

  • world outside China.

  • So they're a bit more paranoid about people with cameras.

  • -[SPEAKING CHINESE]

  • PATRICK BROWN: I never ask permission.

  • I just get in there.

  • And I know I've got a very short window of opportunity to

  • get the pictures.

  • As soon as you start to ask for permission, people are not

  • going to be themselves.

  • And a few times, I push it, and I push it.

  • If somebody's stopping me from taking pictures, or tries to

  • stop me from taking pictures, I push it even further,

  • because there's a reason why this person is

  • trying to stop me.

  • Because he knows they're doing something wrong.

  • So the hardest thing in a photograph is

  • capturing an emotion.

  • So if I'm able to capture this angry person trying to stop me

  • from taking pictures, it also adds another little dimension

  • to the body of work.

  • We go into one pet shop which specializes in selling fish.

  • One fish in this particular shop, I think,

  • was worth about $10,000.

  • The people-- the owner of the shop openly talks about how he

  • smuggled the fish in from Australia, and smuggled them

  • in from the Philippines.

  • -[SPEAKING CHINESE]

  • -This is from the US.

  • PATRICK BROWN: US?

  • So that's an American fish in China.

  • -Yeah.

  • They can make sure that--

  • -[SPEAKING CHINESE]

  • -Yeah, they don't really have a legal channel to help you

  • ship it back to Australia.

  • He just confessed to me that a lot of fish are smuggled in.

  • PATRICK BROWN: He did?

  • -Yeah.

  • PATRICK BROWN: These guys are untouchable.

  • It's just not on the radar of the law enforcement offices.

  • It's not important enough for them.

  • Everything in the market isn't endangered, no.

  • That's where that gray zone of the wildlife trade

  • comfortably sits in.

  • And I'll use the crocodile as an example.

  • 2 and 1/2 thousand tons of live animals go through

  • Heathrow a day.

  • You have a shipment of, say, 25, 30 crocodiles.

  • So the custom guys at Heathrow, he's looking for

  • contraband, he's looking for drugs.

  • But he's not a reptile expert.

  • So he counts 30 crocodiles, ticks that off, yeah, move on.

  • In that 30, there could be 10 very, very endangered

  • crocodiles.

  • Guangzhou's also very famous for its wild game restaurants.

  • But one of the most common things is you can go choose

  • your alligator, choose your crocodile.

  • And in this particular restaurant, it's just out

  • there in the open.

  • And it's got its snout bound.

  • And guests, that's the first thing the see when they walk

  • into the restaurant is a crocodile.

  • I want that crocodile to be chopped up.

  • And I want it for my dinner.

  • That's all you have to say, and it will be done.

  • With the animal trade, the consumption of animals, it's

  • more to do with you are what you eat.

  • So you consume a piece of the tiger, you'll inherit a part

  • of that tiger.

  • And you become more virile and stronger and you'll fight off

  • a cold, or you'll beat the arthritis.

  • Most of the animal is consumed in some form or manner, or

  • used to develop a cream or a soup or a tea, or

  • something like that.

  • We went to Safari World, which is about 40 minutes outside

  • the central Guangzhou.

  • And it's just a huge

  • entertainment complex for families.

  • It revolves around animals.

  • There is a circus.

  • And there is a zoo.

  • And I do agree with