I am a travel photographer, passionate about ethnic groups, cultures and traditions around the world
I divide my time between Paris and South East Asia for photo documentaries
Studied at SPEOS International Photography School
Travel and Ethnic photographer - street, portraiture, documentaries since 2016
Based In Paris and Bangkok
"Belief Over Beauty" - The Power of Sak Yan and Ajarns
I spent a year in Thailand exploring the world of "Sak Yan",
the Thai traditional handmade tattoo and created a series about this magical and religious Art done by Monks and Ajarns (Masters)
. "Hope" at Siam Hotel Bangkok
2017 - 2018
. "Belief Over Beauty" at S. Gallery - Sofitel Bangkok
Please contact me for prices and orders
Limited to 1 out of 30 prints
Available on Classic frame, Metallic, Canvas, Plexi or American box
« SPELLS & SIGILS Among Thailand’s Magical Tattoo Masters »
A photographic exhibition by Jessie Lie.
For nearly a year, French photographer Jessie Lie penetrated deeply into the world of sak yan, the Thai tradition of hand-tattooing ink designs on the body for spiritual purposes, to assemble this special collection of black-and-white images.
It’s a world of magic and mystery that outsiders find difficult to access and to understand. With patience and perseverance, Lie enjoyed extended periods of time inside Thailand’s relatively guarded khru sak (tattoo master) community, living amongst them, sharing food with their families, and attending special ceremonies such as the annual wai khru, in which disciples pay homage to masters past and present.
From within this remarkable subculture, she was able to document the tradition with her camera whilst engaged in deep dialog with both masters and disciples.
The resulting photo collection, carefully curated with the assistance of S Gallery’s Martin Gerlier, offers a rare glimpse into the everyday sak yan world that most people, including many Thais, know very little about.
About sak yan: As elegant and eye-catching as the art may be, it is intended to be far more than simple decoration or cosmetic enhancement. Each design represents a specific magico-religious purpose, served not only by the design itself, but by the master who applies the tattoo and, just as importantly, by the self-discipline and morality of the wearer.
While some foreigners harbour the impression that Thai tattoo masters are always Buddhist monks (hence the misconceived nickname “temple tattoos”), there are in fact many more laymen applying sak yan than monks. What both have in common is a long apprenticeship under an older khru sak, whether monk or layperson. The apprenticeship is deemed complete when the master feels that his apprentice has fully absorbed the master’s weecha (magical knowledge) and is fully capable of tattooing on his own.
Note: Yan is the Thai pronunciation of the Pali-Sanskrit yantra, meaning “sacred (or magic) design.” Some English-language transliterations of the word appear as “yant,” which is illogical since neither the “t” nor the “r” is ever pronounced in the Thai version of the word.
Photographer: Jessie Lie graduated from Spéos Photographic Institute in Paris. She divides her time between Paris and Southeast Asia.