An encounter with S. H. Lim (Vivat Pitayaviriyakul) and his fashion and glamour photography is akin to a trip in a Time Machine. Back to the glory days and uncomplicated appeal of Thai cinema and beauty contests post-1957. His photographic prints have become the memory of that age, appearing as magazine covers, calendars and movie posters; all of them vivacious, beautiful, elegant, cool and dynamically sexy: Thailand’s first Miss Universe, Apasara Hongsakul, stepping out of an aeroplane fresh from her triumph in Miami, an angelic visitation to earthlings; Priya Rungruang, eternal sex siren, in a ‘two-piece’; Apuntree Prayuthsenee, Miss Thailand 1967, in Thai traditional dress. Or bikini-clad free-spirited star Orasa Israngkura na Ayathaya, exuberantly leaping in the air over coconut fronds. These are iconic images, but their photographer remains unknown to most of us.
S. H. Lim, a Thai photographer of Chinese blood, was born in 1930. A self-taught lensman, he took pictures for many well-known Thai publications such as Sakul Thai, Bangkok Weekly, Ploenjit, Or Sor Tor and Seansuk, from 1962 until his retirement after 1987. In 1963 he was awarded the silver and bronze medals by the New York Kodak Expo Photography Contest.
Kathmandu Photo Gallery is proud to present the work of S. H. Lim (Vivat Pityaviriyakul), as the first of our ‘Seeking Forgotten Thai Photographers’ project to highlight master photographers hitherto neglected by official Thai photographic history.