We featured the illustrations drawn by Nick Bowen in the last post. In this post we are going to feature Nick’s work again, but these images are one’s he’s redrawn/retouched of mural details from Wat Chaisi, Wat Sanuan Wari and Wat Photaram.
Throughout or book, both in the retelling and in the supporting chapters, we have used photographs of mural details from both Isan and Laos. The murals from Wat Chaisi, Wat Sanuan Wari, and Wat Photaram in Isan are all considered historical landmarks. Unfortunately time (approximately a hundred years or so) has not been kind to preserving the murals, especially the murals on the outer walls. Chipped masonry, faded paint, bird droppings, rain and wind, have blurred many of the important details.
For their use as illustrations in the book, we made the decision that most of the mural details needed to be redrawn so our readers can see the mural details as they might have looked when the artists first drew them. They are all incredible works of folk art, and even in their current state create a sense of awe when seen first hand. But viewing the mural details in a book is not the same as viewing them on the walls of the temple, and in the context of this book we believe the redrawing dramatically improves the individual storytelling power of each image. We have been careful to ensure that while the images have been redrawn they haven’t been outright manipulated. We are not trying to deceive anyone, just create the best viewing experience for our readers.
Larry Hackett, editor in chief of People tells his photo editors that to remember the purpose of retouching is not to alter reality, just to make the subject matter “sweeter.” We agree and give you the opportunity to decide for yourself. Below we have place a number of redrawn mural details next to the original mural details .What do you think? We obviously think Nick did a fantastic job and hope they help bring the story of Sinxay to life.