In this episode of Picture Perfect, we visit Patrick Brown in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss photography and his forthcoming book Trading to Extinction, which documents the illegal trade of endangered animals in Asia. We then travel with Brown to Guangzhou, China, where he photographs restaurants that buy and serve exotic animals.
Brown describes the nuances of working with translators in difficult situations, and how they help him beyond merely translating.
Patrick Brown grew up in Perth, Australia, and taught himself to take pictures while working as a theater set builder. He was increasingly drawn to documentary photography and eventually sold his car and surfboard to pay for a trip to Malawi, where he spent six weeks documenting the work of a renowned Australian surgeon who had once saved his life. The resulting photographs became a major exhibition in Australia.
In 1999, Brown moved to Southeast Asia to cover Vietnamese coal-mining strikes and the skyrocketing methamphetamine trade. He has spent most of the past decade documenting the illegal trade of endangered species, exposing its devastating effects and giving a voice to the people, places, and animals that he photographs. His project, titled Trading to Extinction, will be published by Emphasis Publishing this year.
Patrick Brown's work regularly appears in major publications including The New York Times, Der Spiegel magazine, the BBC, Time, and The Guardian. He won a World Press Photo award in 2004 for his work on the trade of endangered animals. Patrick's agency, Panos Pictures, is devoted to photographers covering global social issues.