Ralf Tooten
– Biodata

Fascinated by the aesthetics of visual encounters, the personal radiance of human beings and great architecture of all centuries, photographer Ralf Tooten has dedicated his professional life to architecture & portrait photography. 

Born in Germany’s Rhineland, Tooten completed his apprenticeship in architectural photography with master photographer Clemens Hartzenbusch in 1978 and then worked as a stills photographer on several seminal German movies including Volker Schlöndorff’s Academy Award winning ‘The Tin Drum’, based on the novel by Günter Grass, and Margarethe von Trotta’s ‘Two German Sisters’, which won the Golden Lion.


After winning the Fifth Polaroid Fine Arts Award in London for his documentation of Artist Gustav Kluge at work, Tooten went on to work for numerous organizations, ad agencies and magazines across Europe. His first coffee table book ‘Eyes of Wisdom’, an intimate portrait collection of the world’s greatest religious leaders, received worldwide attention and bagged the distinguished Hasselblad Master Award in Goteborg, Sweden in 2002.

In 2003, Tooten moved this studio to Bangkok and began photographing the Thai capital at night. His collaboration with acclaimed writer Roger Willemsen resulted in the best-selling book Bangkok Noir, published in 2009.


His 2009-2010 Medical awareness campaign about people who suffer emotionally from living with psoriasis, initiated by Pfizer Inc. and photographed on the Canary Islands, in Spain and in Costa Rica, was exhibited throughout Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America. 

Enthralled by the exotic aesthetics of the Asian megalopolis, Tooten has spent years documenting the city’s after-dark activities, which he published in the 2009 book, Bangkok Noir. Now with the support of the Goethe Institute and under the curatorial guidance of former Ver Gallery director Josef Ng, Tooten has transferred his shadowy diary into an atmospheric multimedia exhibition at the National Gallery.


In 2013, Tooten’s installation R.C.A., series of gigantic portraits of Thai construction  workers in numerous public spaces around Ratchaburi, transforming this small town in central Thailand into an open air gallery. 


His more recent collection, Ocean Noir, a series of ultra-low light images of oceans around the world, was first exhibited in Bangkok in 2016. 

In 2018, Ralf Tooten was selected as one of the Artists for the first Bangkok Art Biennale by Artistic Director Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda and this curator team, to display and screen this Worker Portrait photographs all over multiple locations within Bangkok for four month.


Curriculum Vitae

Born 1958 Homberg am Niederrhein, Germany

1975-1978 Study architectural photography with Mr. Clemens Hartzenbusch

Cologne, Germany

Ralf Tooten lives and works in Bangkok




Solo Exhibitions

2018 / 2019

Selected Artist for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018/19, Bangkok, Thailand

( art work on display mounted on buildings, run on screens and displayed in gallery space at multiple locations in Bangkok )


Worker Portraits new collection – Cho Why Gallery, Bangkok


Night Wave, RMA Institute, Bangkok, Thailand 


R.C.A. Ratchaburi Construction Workers Open Air, Ratchaburi, Thailand


Bangkok Noir – National Gallery ( & Goethe Institute ), Bangkok, Thailand 2010

Naked Truth – Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Naked Truth – Caracas, Venezuela

Naked Truth – San Paulo, Brazil


A.W.C. – Goethe-Institute Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Naked Truth – Amsterdam Rai + Warf, Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Naked Truth – Pascal Vanhoecke Gallery, Paris, France

Bangkok Noir – Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg, Germany 

Bangkok Noir – Galerie Reygers, Muinch, Germany

Naked Truth – Museo Nazionale della Scienza, Milano, Italia


E.o.W. Galerie Ulrike Petschelt, Kassel, Germany

A.W.C. – Tang Contemporary Art Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand


FCCT, Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand 


St.Johnnis Church, Hamburg, Germany


E.o.W. The National Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

E.o.W. Culture-Center Church Lutterbuche, Hamburg, Germany 

E.o.W. RWE Systems / Art Forum, Essen, Germany

E.o.W. Goethe-Institute Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam

E.o.W. Photography-Gallery Multimedia, Zingst, Germany 

E.o.W. National Gallery of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

E.o.W. Museum Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

E.o.W. Oriega Center, Makati, Philippines

E.o.W. Davao Center, Mindanao, Philippines


E.o.W. Reygers, Gallery for Photography, Munich, Germany

E.o.W. Ecumenical Church Berlin, Germany 

E.o.W. Cultural Center Constance, Constance, Germany


E.o.W. Photokina, World Trade Fair of Photography, Cologne, Germany

E.o.W. Museum of Art and Commerce, Hamburg, Germany

Group Exhibitions


“ Healing Waters “ curated by Luckana Kunavichayanont
with Ralf Tooten, Tul Hirunyalawaan and Chaiyapruek Chalermpornpanit
Amanpuri Gallery, Phuket, Thailand


Bangkok Art Biennale, BAB Box


Symphonie de Couleurs, Palazzo Merati, Venice, Italy

Bangkok Art Biennale, BAB Box, Bangkok, Thailand


Judge for the 12th international Photographic contest of Thai

Art and Culture Commemoration of Prince Naris Day, Silapakorn University, Thailand


“Migrant Worker” at Museum of Labour, Hamburg, Germany 


Jugde for the 11th international Photographic contest of Thai Art and Culture

in Commemoration of Prince Naris Day, Silpakorn University,



 “Thai Trends from Localism to Internationalism” at BACC Bangkok, Thailand.

Judge for the 10th international Photographic contest of Thai Art and Culture

in Commemoration of Prince Naris Day, Silapakorn University,


BACC Bangkok Art/Cultural Center “14” Exhibition, Pilot

project for “Fine Art Contest” powered by ThaiBev and The Royal Society of Thailand

“A walk through Bangkok” Exhibition result’s Ralph Gibson Lecture at Le Meridien Hotel, Bangkok


La Condition Humaine“ Galerie Pascal Verhoecke, Paris, France 

Jugde for the 9th international Photographic contest of Thai

Art and Culture in Commemoration of Prince Naris Day, Silpakorn University, Thailand


Augenmerk: Erde – Photo-Gallery, Zingst, Germany

Bangkok Noir – Baltic Biennale, St. Petersbourg, Rusia 

See Saw Seen 3, DOB Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

Judge for the 8th international Photographic contest of Thai Art&Culture Prince Naris Day, Silapakorn University, Thailand


Mapping Invisible Cities, Goethe-Institute Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

The Banyan Tree National Gallery Bangkok, Bangkok,Thailand

The Banyan Tree Meta House Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Judge for the 7th international Photographic contest of Thai Art&Culture Prince Naris Day, Silapakorn University, Thailand


Crack2 Exhibition, Benchasiri Park, Bangkok, Thailand

Mapping Invisible Cites, Goethe-Haus, Jarkata, Indonesia 



Zen Exhibition Lounge, Bangkok, Thailand 

Judge for the 6th international Photographic contest of Thai Art and Culture in Commemoration of Prince Naris Day, Silapakorn University, Thailand


Chapter 75: Clay Overture, Playground, Bangkok/Thailand 


Summer Gallery Woischnik, Sag Harbor, Hamptons, USA 


Blickverbindung Produzentengalerie Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Public Collections:

Berlinische Galerie / Museum of Modern Art, Photography, Architecture – Berlin, Germany 

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany

National Gallery of Thailand

National Gallery of Malaysia

Bangkok Art Biennale Collection, Bangkok, Thailand

and private collectors