Life Under the Expressway : Katherine Williams

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In 2013 Katherine travelled to Bangkok to document the daily life of the people living in Klong Toey, Bangkok’s largest slums. 

 Klong Toey is Bangkok’s oldest slum and one of Thailand’s largest. It borders the Chao Phraya River where in the early 1950s workers were brought to help build the port. The workers were allowed to build their homes near the port’s construction area and were authorised to stay throughout the construction period. However as soon as the building was finished, the workers were expected to leave their homes as the government claimed the whole area. Suddenly they became squatters. Generations later the people in the slum still have very poor access to health care and there are barely any legitimate jobs. It provides the perfect setting for crime and drugs.

 Klong Toey is vastly overcrowded with 100,000 people crammed into 1km square. The tiny huts sprawl all the way to the train line and the motorway bridge under which people have built homes, little shops, a school and a boxing gym. Each person is fighting their own battle. 


  Katherine Williams is a portrait and documentary photographer and is particularly concerned with social issues. In May 2013 Katherine graduated from CATC Design School with a Diploma in Photoimaging and received the Da Vinci Award for her progress throughout her studies. She was shortlisted for the 2012 Shutterbug Awards as well as the 1233 ABC Portrait Prize in 2013. Katherine is also a finalist in this year’s HeadOn Portrait Prize. 


Katherine is working on a number of long-term projects investigating the issues of people from different socio-economic backgrounds and cultures within Australia. “Life Under the Expressway” is her first over-seas project. 


 She always looks for the best in every person. No matter the country, culture or what their socio-economic background may be, she will approach every person with equal amounts of respect and positivity. Katherine is fascinated by the stories people share with her and she will always try to portray those she meets in the most honest way possible. Katherine’s goal is for people to look at the world through more tolerant and accepting eyes. She wants you to see the best in others too.