Saturday, December 14, 2019

Paddling back to nobler, simpler (and poorer) times

Jan 08. 2016
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By The Nation
email: ntsoopsip@g

2,945 Viewed

In game-changing news for the designers of fancy wedding gowns, a Thai couple has become an Internet sensation by dressing in centuryold peasant togs for their prenuptial photos.
Nattawut Chopchoo and Napapon “Noon” Kliengmon dressed up like common folk of the early Rattanakosin Era and climbed into a rowboat on a small khlong with lush green orchard in the background. 
Nattawut is shirtless and around his lower body wears a wrap-around chong kraben. Noon has the same trouser-like wrap plus a pha taap covering her upper torso. Neither one of them appears to be wearing much makeup as they strike vintage poses and classical stances.
You can see why wedding photos like this would go viral online in an age when the groom typically gets done up like Prince Charming and the bride is engulfed in layers of sumptuous silk and chiffon. Usually both of them are painted to perfection, posing woodenly or whimsically and reeking of too much money (or at least too large an expenditure).
What we’re talking about is Prince Charming versus authentic charm, pretend nobility versus honest humility, and snooty excess versus plain good humour. There is the allure of nostalgia, to be sure, that harking back to simpler times, a rustic boat paddling down a quaint canal. You can see an old wooden pier and a timber bridge that the commuters of old had to duck beneath.
“These photos reminds us of the classic love story of Kwan and Riam in the movie ‘Plae Kao’,” someone commented after seeing the pictures on Pantip.com.
The nearly-weds aren’t actually poor, in case you were wondering. Nattawut Chopchoo, 25, is an engineer and also a musician in Ratchaburi. His aim was to have pre-wedding photos that didn’t appear all rigid and boring. He says he looks forward to smiling every time he revisits the pictures in the future. 
He picked the location, a spot he knows well because that’s his grandfather’s orchard in the background, where he grew up. “I’m really glad people love the photos,” Nattawut says. “We only intended to share them with friends on Facebook – we never thought they’d become such a big hit.” 
“It was my fiance’s idea to have the pre-wedding photos done like this,” Noon adds. “He wanted to do something unconventional, so he came up with the retro, rustic idea. My parents are delighted that we’ve become the talk of the town.”
It was the photographer, Thongtod Rodwan, who posted the pictures at Pantip, but even so he didn’t expect them to garner rave reviews from the online community. His reward, as well as a measure of fame, is that a lot of people who saw the images at Pantip send him Facebook friend requests.
“Nattawut and Noon decided what they wanted to do before they talked to me,” Thongtod says. “We discussed it and planned it for a month and then did the location shoot in just one day. It was a lot of fun!” 
And there’ll be much more fun when the lovebirds – who’ve been a couple for 14 years – finally tie the knot later this month. We somehow doubt they’ll be floating down a khlong for the wedding ceremony, but, hey, that would be nice too.
 

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