Thailand’s Tribal Village People

In the Chaing Rai district of northern Thailand there is a village of tribal people. The people are refugees, mostly from across the border in Myanmar. The Thai government has set up this refuge camp where the tribal people are allowed to establish a village and sell their handicrafts. Tourists pay a fee to enter the villages. The fee goes toward maintaining the village. I visited the village in the early morning hours as the villagers were just starting their day and before all the tourists arrived. There were no men in the village, only women and children. It is my understanding that the villagers expect to be photographed by the people who enter the village so many of the women dress and wear makeup to be ready for photographs. I found the village people somewhat shy but curious about me as was I of them.
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Most of the shots in this slide show were made with a telephoto lens using existing light. Only a couple photos were posed portraits. I found the portraits taken without trying to pose the subjects conveyed the most natural and comfortable expressions. My objective was to stay far away enough that my subject was aware of my photography but did not feel like I was invading their personal space.