Nicolas Métraux is an award winning Swiss photographer based in Bangkok. After working a few years as an architect, he redirected his professional career towards portraiture, reportage and documentary photography. He recently was awarded the 1st prize at the Swiss Press Photo Awards.
He is working and cosigning his images as a team with Stéphanie Borcard. Together, they mostly work on personal projects, influenced by their extensive travels and by different forms of expression such as literature, arts and independent films.
Through a subtle approach of the story, they explore the margins of social issues. Their recent series focus on the relation between individual and society, helping them not only to have a better understanding of the world we are living in, but also to question who they are.
Curiosity and passion for others led them to different countries around Asia and recently to Bosnia-and-Herzegovina. A book designed by Smith Design in London and published by GOST books in London, will finalize three-year project in the Balkans and will be released in 2015.
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2015 - Swiss Press Award 2015 1st prize, cat. Daily Life
"Dad is gone" is a series that focuses on children born from sex tourism in the Philippines.
Angeles City, eighty kilometres north of Manila, is known for its red-light district. Until 1991, the city was the home of Clark Air base, the largest US Air Base outside the United States of America. This favoured the raising of many brothels and Girlie Bars, turning the city into one of the most popular sex tourism destination. Today, about 12’000 women are working in the bars which flank Fields Avenue. Unlike in Thailand, international customers in the Philippines seek a "girlfriend experience" that can last for several weeks or months.
Each year, thousands of children are born from these paid relations...
A few kilometers from Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, is the village of Faham. Here, ten years ago, Martin Woodtli native of Münsingen Switzerland, founded a center for people with Alzheimer's and senile dementia: The Baan Kamlangchay.
It all starts with a personal story. Martin’s father commits suicide, overwhelmed by the illness of his wife affected by Alzheimer. Martin finds himself alone to take care of his mother Margrit. Not being convinced by any establishment in Switzerland, both structurally and financially, he decides, after a careful consideration, to take his mother with him to Thailand and develops a specially adapted structure to take care of her. The social worker knows the country well; he used to work there for Doctors Without Borders.
Today the center hosts a dozen European residents.
While traveling through the high plateau of the Tibetan part of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, we wanted to shoot something about Tibetans in different way than we had done previously. We left the all too well known peaceful Buddhist aspect to the side and worked in a very free, humorous and interpretative way.
As in a movie set, the main location was a little town called Tagong (塔公) located in western Sichuan province in South-Western China. This small town sits, at an altitude of 3700m, in the middle of vast pristine grasslands. A unique central road flanked by shops, billiard centres and restaurants divides the hamlet. There, we were surprised how much the sight of Tibetan men and women, on their horses, with their large Stetson-like hats, whips and boots seemed to belong to some lost childhood memories: The cowboys, the Red-Indians, Billy the Kid... to be short, the wild West.