303 East Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701 • (919)687-0250

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Photographs from Bangkok
by Douglas Vuncannon

"Kawisara “Sara” Rodbunlue (Tattoo)" © 2019 Douglas Vuncannon

Artist's Talk
7 pm, 3rd Friday, March 15, 2019
Open Friday until 9 pm

On display through March 16, 2019

In 2017 and 2018 Durham-based documentary artist Douglas Vuncannon photographed over one hundred transwomen in Bangkok, Thailand. (In Thailand, transwomen are known as ladyboys in English conversation.) Twenty-six black and white prints from this project will be shown at Through This Lens in downtown Durham, NC. The opening reception is February 15th, 6:00—9:00pm. The exhibit will remain on display through March 9th, 2019.

“This project was a fascinating journey into communities that are poorly understood by many Western visitors to Thailand,” Vuncannon said. “In addition to sex workers and cabaret performers, I also interviewed and photographed transwomen in less visible positions in Bangkok. Among them were store clerks, cooks, retail sales associates, custodians, accountants, bank representatives, hair-dressers, make-up artists, massage therapists, after-school coaches, amateur Muay Thai boxers, marketers and students. Someone who saw this material remarked that these photographs present ladyboys as they’ve never seen them before in the media—I took this comment as the highest praise.”

The stark black and white prints on display are each 24 x 24 inches and stylistically similar. They are examples of Vuncannon’s interest in using formal portraiture with strong aesthetic mandates to conduct inquiry into insular scenes. The exhibition booklet contains notes and supplementary material that is useful to understand the project within its local cultural context. Some viewers may find the images and themes provocative.

About Douglas Vuncannon

Douglas Vuncannon is a visual artist, composer, performer, photographer and writer who has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. In the early 2000s, Vuncannon produced short documentary films that screened at numerous film festivals in the United States and Canada. He has contributed photographs, journalism and criticism to the Independent Weekly and other publications. A multi-instrumentalist with a diverse musical background, Vuncannon has primarily focused on double bass performance and orchestra composition in recent years.

Vuncannon's completed works include Fukushima Travelogue (2015), which consists of writings and photographs from the radioactive ghost towns of Japan, and Sabungeros (Cockfighters) (2017), a series of photographs from the Philippines that was exhibited at Through This Lens in downtown Durham, NC. In October of 2017, his Sinfonietta Fukushima, a one-movement satirical tone poem, had its world premiere in Sydney, Australia. It was performed by the sixty-piece Sydney Contemporary Orchestra. In the fall of 2018 Vuncannon was commissioned by Downtown Durham Inc. to produce the public space project Portraits in Common with collaborator Wendy Spitzer.


Vuncannon teaches photography at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

For more information about Douglas Vuncannon’s work, visit or email

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Free and open to the public
Regular Hours: 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM Tuesday - Friday
Saturdays 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday & Monday by appointment
Third Fridays open until 9 PM

© 2019 Through This Lens, Inc
303 E. Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701
919.687.0250 -

this page updated March 9, 2019