BLOG:: Trailing Madness: Interview with Nattapon "Gaow" Nukulkan
Motorcycling gangs—often unapproachable and intimidating to an outsider—carry with them an air of mystery. Emerging photographer Nattapon “Gaow” Nukulkam, who wanted to delve into this closed world to explore the reality of life in a gang, came across Madness MC, a group based in the hills outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over the course of six months, Gaow integrated himself within this community by following them closely, and was invited to participate in intimate celebrations reserved for the gang’s inner circle. What emerged was a photojournalistic series for his undergraduate thesis that gives a unique insight into an ostensibly impenetrable club. Made up of around 20 members, Madness practices motorcycle gang traditions such as initiation rituals. But Gaow’s project breaks through the typical stereotypes and preconceptions that surround motorcycle gangs. At 22 years old, the young photographer was an unlikely candidate to end up in the midst of such a group, yet he brought sensitivity and perception to the photographs that could only have come from his position as an onlooker. He enables the audience to see past the solid, outer layers of the gang—beneath the tattoos and rituals—and into the humanizing aspects that show the members as unique individuals. Gaow documented how they connect and interact with each other, by playing with different perspectives. In May, the artist showed ArtAsiaPacific around his debut solo exhibition at Documentary Arts Asia in Chiang Mai, which featured his motorcycle gang series, and talked about his experience of making this striking collection of images.