Girl smoking pipe by John Spies

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A young Pwo Karen girl in Northern Thailand smokes her tobacco pie while looking after her younger sister. In the 1980s it was common for the children of some hilltribes to smoke rough homegrown tobacco and chew betel. As schools were established the practice has died out. This candid shot was taken in the early 1980s with a nikon FM2, 135mm lense and kodachrome slide film.


candid, child, girl, hilltribe, karen, pipe, smoking, thailand, tobacco, tribe

I am an Australian expat living in the hills of Mae Hong Son province Thailand (please visit I photograph almost everything, above and below ground.

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  • Lass With a Camera
    Lass With a Ca...about 5 years ago

    National Geographic shot!

  • Elaine  Manley
    Elaine Manleyabout 5 years ago
    these shots are amazing John !
  • Thanks for your comments Lucindawind, I am glad that you like them.

    – John Spies

  • Ken Boxsell
    Ken Boxsellabout 5 years ago

    Absolutely amazing…… full of life and emotion……..fantastic shot John

  • Thanks mate

    – John Spies

  • micheleirene
    micheleireneabout 5 years ago

    Fantastic image! Great expressive capture :)

  • tandoor
    tandoorabout 5 years ago

    Your photographs are moving John. You have captured so many aspects in them, culture, tradition, way of living, habits etc

  • Thanks tandoor, cool comment

    – John Spies

  • annamora
    annamoraabout 5 years ago

    congratulations on having this image featured :)

  • Thanks annarmora for the congrats

    – John Spies

  • jacqleen
    jacqleenabout 5 years ago

    John…this is an AMAZING CAPTURE….LOVE that SMILE on her face….! another amazing shot!

  • Great to receive your feedback, thanks jacqleen

    – John Spies

  • annie curry
    annie curryabout 5 years ago

    THis is AWSOME!

  • Thats nice, thanks annie

    – John Spies

  • Isa Rodriguez
    Isa Rodriguezabout 5 years ago

    Congratulations, this beautiful image is being featured in First Things

  • Wow, that’s great, thanks Isa and the First Things team

    – John Spies

  • Misty Lackey
    Misty Lackeyabout 5 years ago

    great day for the camera

  • certainly was, as are most days

    – John Spies

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