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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.
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
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.
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.
-This is from the US.
So that's an American fish in China.
They can make sure that--
-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: 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
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 them.
They're very educational.
And you need those institutions.
But realistically, an elephant in a zoo
is actually a prisoner.
They've got X amount of space.
And they know that X amount of space like the
back of their hand.
Zoos make a lot of money.
They're a great money earner.
And the rarer the animal you have, or the rarer collection
of animals you have, the more people are
going to go see them.
Some zoos are legitimate, and some zoos aren't.
The majority of zoos and in this part of the world are not
so legitimate.
When we went to Safari World, they have flamingos in
So people can have a nice steak and watch a pink
flamingo, which is obviously not native to Asia.
Then in another restaurant, you have the White Tiger
Restaurant, where you can sit down and have your meal and
watch probably one of most endangered tigers in the world
walk around while you have your meal.
And supposedly in this particular institution, it has
50% of the world's population of white tigers.
That's something wrong there.
I'm not an animal activist.
It's more about exposing those subcultures in society.
The animal is not really the story.
What's happening to the animals is the story.
And that cause is actually the subcultures of smugglers and
poachers and customers.
That's what I'm interested in.
My career as a photographer in the last 10 years has been
focused around the animal trade.
Every little penny I've earned has gone
back into this project.
And one of the biggest discussions that I had with
publishers was that it was in black and white.
If I had shot this in color, I think it
would have no problems.
It would have been printed straight away.
But for some reason, because it's in black and white, it
scares people away, financially.
The reason I shot it in black and white was a
really simple reason.
I really understand black and white film.
I dream in black and white.
I don't dream in color.
So on a subconscious level, I think black and white is more
of a powerful tool to let people delve more into their
subconsciousness to actually get a bit more
of a sense of placement.
They let their imagination go a little bit further than they
would do if they were looking at a color photograph.
For me, it really tells a story in a much
more clearer sense.
We visited the Guangzhou Medicine Market, which is a
very famous institution.
It's pretty wacky.
You see a lot of crazy things there, from seahorses, geckos
drying on the street, turtles, a multitude of different
creatures for sale, and parts of different creatures.
What drives the industry is naivety and greed.
Naivety in the sense of lack of education regarding what
the health benefits from some of these products do.
Rhino horn is one of the classics.
If you consume a rhino horn, mythology believes that you'll
be able to mate for two or three hours.
It doesn't work.
But it's very porous.
So one of the tricks of the trade is to soak the rhino
horn actually in the Viagra.
So that drives the trade as well.
It's all this naivety.
And it works, because it's soaked in Viagra.
A bag of [INAUDIBLE].
A few hundred years ago, people would be
invited to a wedding.
And just the immediate family would have shark fin soup.
And guests would stand around in awe that they were able to
eat shark fin soup.
It was a very sought after delicacy.
Now the wedding parties have grown to 300 or 400 people.
And they all have shark fin soup.
When you look at the shark fins, you see the bags and
hundreds of bags of this stuff.
And three fins basically means one shark.
It's just a staggering amount of sharks that have died for
something that's basically cartilage and
doesn't taste of anything.
While we were in the medicine market in Guangzhou, this guy
in a blue track suit comes up to me while taking pictures.
And he's trying to sell me some bear bile products.
He was a little bit uncomfortable with the Chinese
watching him, and watching the deal go down.
So we get him aside, and we go talk about it.
PATRICK BROWN: He said he bought it off some guy who was
either from Tibet or from Nepal.
And he got a customs official on the border to
get it in to China.
And he's going to Guangzhou, which traveling thousands of
kilometers to sell two items shows you how much of a hub
Guangzhou is.
After 9/11, there was a big push to find out who are the
people who are generating income for the terrorists and
the smuggling routes.
And it wasn't until Congress decided to put a lot of
funding into that, once it was researched, it pretty much
took everybody by surprise how big the animal trade was.
PATRICK BROWN: What about just there?
PATRICK BROWN: He wants to keep the camera out?
It attracts a crowd.
PATRICK BROWN: It attracts a crowd.
I understand.
Well, he's doing something that's legal.
We'll just stand in there.
And the camera will stay out here.
We'll just stand in there, so the camera doesn't come.
10 years in the project, I've never had somebody literally
come up to me and want to do the deal there and then, and
totally blase about it all.
He saw me as an opportunity to try and make a quick dollar.
He wanted $1,000 basically for a very small
amount of bear bile.
OK, thank you.
This is the last trip for the animal trade.
This is it.
I'm 43 years old.
I've been doing this for just under a quarter of my life.
A few months from now, people will be holding a book in
their hands.
And it will no longer be my book.
It'll be their book.
I always knew I would get to this stage.
But now I'm here.
Actually, it's just kind of weird that it doesn't actually
feel like it's really happening.
It's 10 years in the making.
And it's going to where I initially thought it
would always go.
It's quite a nice feeling, actually, I have to say.


Documenting Asia's Illegal Animal Trade

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VoiceTube 2013 年 1 月 11 日 に公開
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