Sakulchai Sikitikul is a street photographer from Songkhla, Thailand. After graduating from Silpakorn University with a degree in Communication Arts, he worked in an advertising company for a few years. His journey into photography began in 2006, at first mainly as a hobby due to the limited time available between study and work. Over the years, his interest in street photography has grown more and more, inspired mainly by the photographs of Steve McCurry, in particular by the composition of his images and his choice to shoot at the right moment without staging anything.
“As it Happened” is Sakulchai’s first book, published by Eyeshot, and celebrates the joy of his street photography. The monograph expresses his need to document the passing of time, making his street shots become something more, something indelible that surpasses the tick of time. Throughout the pages, 110 photographs narrate the ordinary wonders happening in the author’s hometown with acute graphic consciousness. In his work, the social context is put into a personal perspective and depicted with a creative and romantic touch. Street photography always offers him new encounters and new artistic opportunities, forcing him to be constantly alert and focused on what is happening all around.
We asked Sakulchai a few questions about his dreamlike image included as Fine Art print in the Black Edition, named a finalist in the single image category of the San Francisco Street Photography Festival in 2019. What prompted him to click? How did he achieve the right composition? Read on to find out.
Tell us more about the Black Edition shot. When and where was it taken? What experience does it portray?
This photo was taken at Samila Beach, Songkhla, where I often go for a walk. It is a familiar place which is not far from my home. There are long beaches and people go to relax all day long. That day, I noticed a lot of bubbles floating in the air so I walked to find the source and found that some kids were playing with the bubble maker toy. I thought it was interesting to shoot. While trying to take a photo, I noticed a cowboy on horseback walking the tourists along the beach. Therefore, I tried to compose the image in the best possible way. I was very impressed that I was able to capture this moment.
Why did you decide to capture that precise moment?
The allure of street photography is that it is not staged. If we can capture the moment through the placement of other elements such as color, lighting, juxtaposition, etc., it will be a satisfaction that cannot be found in any other kind of photography. In this case, the children were playing and many bubbles, some small, some large, began to fly toward the sea, blown by a gentle breeze. This was the trigger point for me to start shooting.
What do you like the most about that photograph?
I like to take pictures that look like a painting, and this image represents the achievement of that goal. There is something surreal about it that makes it special and makes you want to watch it for a long time.
7) What camera and what lens did you use? What diaphragm, shutter speed and ISO, and why?
Although digital cameras can be more flexible than film photography, I still don’t like pushing the high ISO, but I tend to use a way to reduce the shutter speed or widen the aperture more.The default ISO setting for me is ISO 200, the speed 250 is enough for general walking. My camera is SONY A7M3 and the lens is Leica 35mm summicron or 28mm elmarit. I don’t like using autofocus and burst modes.
Sakulchai’s shot, with its dreamlike and surreal elements, demonstrates how it is possible, even in the most familiar places, to capture new situations and details never seen before and, with the right eye and timing, turn them into a work of art.