Maneemejai describes herself as “a little woman photographer from Northern Thailand”. Both a commercial and fine art photographer, her real name is Suphattra Mansawang. The name “Maneemejai” came from a postcard she found at a market in Chiang Mai.
Maneemejai spent her childhood surrounded by nature in the rural mountains of Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand where her parents were school teachers. She found photography at high school age which became a passion that led her to study fine art at university, develop her own unique photographic style and quickly garner a reputation through social media channels. Her real name is Suphattra Mansawang or “Au” for short. Maneemejai is a pseudonym which she adopted after finding a little postcard bearing the name as she was browsing a night market in Chiang Mai.
Maneemejai attended Srinakharinwirot University in Chiang Mai, studying in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art. For her final thesis, she chose to focus on gender equality, projecting her story through the lens with young girls armed with toy guns levelled at boys and young boys, dressed up like girls, holding dolls. Her interest in this subject has its roots in her “male dominated” upbringing where stereotyping was typical. Gender equality remains close to her heart today.
I’m interested in art and photography is the way I choose to tell stories.
Maneemejai is a photographic storyteller and is in her element when taking portraits of women in exotic locations with a sharp focus on spatial composition. She encourages her models to “be natural”, often placing them in settings that contrast and juxtapose to fuel the visual story. These stylized, fine art images represent her unique style and identity and when on-location she is free to direct the shoot to achieve the exact end result she is after.
Maneemejai balances her own fine art photography with commercial commissioned work, principally in advertising. She has built a solid reputation for herself in both fields, but they are like chalk and cheese to operate in. With fine art photography, Maneemejai is her own boss. With commercial photography she works as part of a larger team and everyone is focused on producing the very best representation for the brand in question.>
An active fundraiser and support of charities, she has joined 25 female celebrities to fundraise for the Operation Smile Foundation. Her portfolio of images from that work is titled “Organic Smile” and features portraits of girls smiling which has also been published as a book to further aid fundraising.
“For those who don’t know what they like or what they want to do, I recommend learning something new and then doing it. Only once you have done it will you know if it is the right path for you or not.”
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