Close to the Thai-Lao border, Laotian ‘hostesses’ wait patiently for clients outside their karaoke bars. Business is slow in the rainy season; competition is fierce among the many bars in that small area. “There is a clear spectre of hope,” says Jaruthavee, “nursed with infinite patience by the act of continuous waiting.”
The photographer’s intimate empathy for her subject is vibrant and palpable; she moves us to tears even as her work’s degree of accomplishment and honesty uplift the girls as sentient souls. The series’ saturated eye-candy colours of the girls’ neon-lit surroundings and their ‘play’ clothes remind us of dollhouses.
“Their gazes yearn for something more - their aspirations are no different from any other woman in her 20’s, yet their very game plan keeps them ensnared in a vicious cycle that takes them ever further from their dreams.”
Bangkok-born and raised, British-Thai photographer Cattleya Jaruthavee graduated with a BSc in Sociology from the University of Bristol and a Masters in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster. Cattleya has exhibited in London, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Yangon.
Her latest exhibition Paused Dreams is now showing in Bangkok at the Kathmandu Photo Gallery (five minutes walk from Surasak BTS) until June 28, 2015.