The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.
From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.
This article originally appeared on 09.18.15
What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?
Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.
Photojournalist Taylor Weidman recently stopped by a graveyard in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the city's Ramkhamhaeng neighborhood sits a lot peppered with parts from jets and commercial liners. What's most interesting, however, aren't the planes, but rather the people who live among the wreckage.
Life in the graveyard is about as bare-bones as it gets.
The three families living in the lot seem to get by with little more than the shelter created by the hull of a 747, mats, and makeshift curtains. For money, several collect recycling, and as the International Business Times reports, "they occasionally supplement their income by charging tourists and photographers 100 Baht (about £1.80 or $2.77) to look around their homes."
Weidman's photos shine a light on the luxuries we so often take for granted in life; namely, the ability to travel.
Seeing vehicles once used to jet people around the world for business, pleasure, and everything in between used in a much more fundamental way — as the basic shelters needed for survival — is its own form of forced perspective. It also highlights the creativity of those living in the lot; being able to transform airplanes into places to call home is no small feat.
Most of all, Weidman's photos tell a story about the importance of empathy.
The families in the Ramkhamhaeng lot are human, just like you and me. Like all of us, they're doing their best to survive.
This stunning collection of photos brings just a brief glimpse of what it's like to step into their shoes; something we should all strive to do more often.
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