This Is My Body is a series of portraits depicting young professional Muay Thai (Thai boxing) fighters in Bangkok. I made the images during the past three years at a training camp in the city’s most notorious slum. Most of the boys portrayed have been orphaned or neglected and discarded. Their sole means of survival depends upon their success in the ring and, more fundamentally, the fitness of their bodies. The boys are subjected to grueling workouts in oppressive heat; their bodies endure brutal punishment; and they are trained to be ferocious and merciless. By the time they are in their early twenties, many of them will have compromised their physical and mental well being, after years of grueling training and countless punishing bouts. All proceeds from their winning purses are used to maintain the squalid training camp and provide for meager sustenance. These boys are at once admired and unwanted; savage and forlorn; innocent and jaded; cultivated and commodified. I have created this series in an attempt to illuminate these contradictions.
Noah David Bau is an American photographer who divides his time between Bangkok and Boston. Mr. Bau graduated Magna cum Laude from Amherst College as an Independent Scholar in Photography and Sexual Politics. He continued his studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles and earned a Master’s degree from Stanford University.