Smoking kid (after)

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Uploaded 2 May 2008 — 60 favorites
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© Richard Seah
Views 4989
Likes 2
Favorites 61
Comments 28
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More of Richard Seah’s Photos

  • Smoking kid (before)
  • Smoking kid (after)
  • Loneliness (before)
  • Loneliness in the city

Submitted to Growing Up

  • Wonder
  • Smoking kid (after)
  • Two Sides of Celine
  • Looking up

Photo license: © All rights reserved

This Young Smoker - a member of the Black Lahu tribe in Northern Thailand - must have been not more than five or six years old.

He has four cigarettes on him, the fourth being tucked above his other ear.

And the interesting additional information is that he wanted to beat me after I took his photos. He had asked me for money, but because I did not have small change left, I turned him down.

He then threw stones at me and tried to beat me with a stick!

I thought to myself, this kid would probably grow up to become a drug warlord at the Golden Triangle along the Thai / Burmese border.

He would be old enough for that role today as this image was shot in 1983.

Of all my precious slides, this was in the worst condition - covered with blue blotches all over. See Smoking kid (before)

When my friend examined the slide under bright lights, he saw a colony of tiny multi-legged creatures, complete with eggs, carcasses and faeces!

Larry, took hours to help me restore this slide. And he liked it so much that he spent another two days to produce a painted version of it.

I am not sure if this magazine accepts photo paintings, but you can view it on my website,

I proudly put it on the cover page :-)

28 responses

  • Hector Ortiz

    Hector Ortiz gave props (2 May 2008):

    wow...very interesting subject...

  • N

    N said (3 May 2008):

    I like the way the boy stands, holds the paraphernalia, the smoke... ALthough I think the smoke was made after recunstruction, it looks just perfect.

  • Richard Seah

    Richard Seah said (4 May 2008):

    Well if you look at the "before" photo with all the blue blotches, the smoke was there too.
    BTW another friend and I was just discussing last night? Is there any Photoshop plug in that allows one to add smoke to an image?
    We had wanted to do that with a pix I took, so he blew some cigarette smoke in front of the lens but it did not quite work.

  • Jo Jo

    Jo Jo gave props (15 Jul 2008):

    This, unfortunately enough, fits the theme. Nice shot!

  • Kathee Brown

    Kathee Brown said (22 Jul 2008):

    Fascinating picture and story. Boy, wouldn't it be interesting to see what he is doing now. hmmmmmm

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams said (15 Oct 2008):

    Very good fit to the theme.
    Wonderful shot that tells and intriguing story.

  • Karen K Smith

    Karen K Smith gave props (21 Oct 2008):

    great text and photo!

  • Karen K Smith

    Karen K Smith gave props (21 Oct 2008):

    great text and photo!

  • Jason Seda

    Jason Seda gave props (1 Nov 2008):


  • Elvia Dametto

    Elvia Dametto said (27 Nov 2008):

    amaizing photo!!!...and fantastic story..

  • Lill-Veronica Skoglund

    Lill-Veronica Skoglund (Deleted) said (26 Dec 2008):

    Awesome capture!

  • Kelly Roper

    Kelly Roper gave props (6 Jan 2009):

    Wow! I work exclusively with kids and the difference in their reality is shocking. This is an amazing image.

  • Marva Fonseca

    Marva Fonseca (Deleted) gave props (8 Jan 2009):

    I find this picture so disturbing!

  • Julie Walker

    Julie Walker said (10 Jul 2009):

    I agree with Marva that this is disturbing...cultural differences just blast you in the face dont' they? GREAT PICTURE _ i mean it just speaks to you doesn't it?

  • mdw art photography

    mdw art photography gave props (22 Aug 2009):

    great and sad but why didn't you give the kid some money? You've benefitted from him.

  • Karin Crona

    Karin Crona (Deleted) said (23 Aug 2009):

    great photo and story, thanks for sharing!

  • Deb Exteen

    Deb Exteen (Deleted) gave props (21 Sep 2009):

    Great capture and message...

  • rachelrobichaux

    rachelrobichaux gave props (24 May 2010):

    oh man. rough life for this kid, thanks for the story

  • rudi setiawan

    rudi setiawan said (31 Jan 2011):

    well, this is a great moment. congratulation, you have this photo.

  • Kevin Kott

    Kevin Kott (Deleted) gave props (2 Feb 2011):

    My vote!!!

  • Margan Zajdowicz

    Margan Zajdowicz   gave props (5 Feb 2011):

    Scary! The pediatrician in me doesn't like this. Impressive photo!

  • Doglvr

    Doglvr said (25 Feb 2011):

    Amazing...looks well versed in the art of chain smoking. Sad. You captuerd something disturbing here. Think of this boys future and how every decision made now will shape who he becomes. Bravo Richard.

  • Anthony Cervo

    Anthony Cervo said (8 Apr 2011):

    Wow, amazing shot. Great story.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (14 Apr 2011):

    What an amazing story, I am so glad that Larry fixed this incredible documentation, thank you for sharing, and yes, I voted!

  • Yasmina Baggili

    Yasmina Baggili (Deleted) gave props (12 May 2011):

    my vote for this great picture!!!!!!!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (8 Jun 2011):

    My vote!! At the samtime I am hurt!!!

  • Victoria Laquindanum

    Victoria Laquindanum gave props (25 Dec 2011):

    omg. poor child. but you nailed this theme. amazing!

  • Zapata Juan P

    Zapata Juan P   gave props (20 Feb 2012):

    Powerful Portrait.

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