Cambodia: Angkor Photo Festival
NEW STORIES IN AN ANCIENT LAND
The town of Siem Reap is gateway to the Angkor region of north-west of Cambodia. Centuries before, the region was home to the powerful Khmer Empire and the site of the world’s largest pre-industrial city. Today, while the modern economy is still developing, Angkor has a rapidly growing tourist industry, with visitors attracted to its spectacular ancient sites.
The eighth edition of the Angkor Photo Festival opens in Siem Reap on 1 December. The program is unconstrained by a specific theme, but there is an underlying interest in exploring new ways in which photographic narrative is evolving. It is an approach that has led to a conscious focus on younger generations of practitioners who, the organisers feel, are most in tune with these emerging forms.
The festival’s program director, Françoise Callier, has put together 10 exhibitions of imagery from countries as diverse as Ethiopia, Japan and Mexico. This year there are also new partnerships with the Greenpeace and Médecins du Monde that aim to highlight the importance of photography in the work of NGOs globally.
‘Slide nights’, first introduced by the Rencontres d’Arles, have become a mainstay of many photo festivals around the world. The slide night in Siem Reap begins on the evening of 3 December with a program jointly selected by the Dutch picture editor Eddie Marsman and the photographer Marco Wiegers. Three nights later, the Bangladeshi photographer Munem Wasif will present his personal picture choice.
Also of considerable interest are two educational initiatives.
The first is already running: a 10-day workshop for street children coordinated by the acclaimed Indian photographer Sohrab Hura. It is delivered at Anjali House, a not-for-profit organisation established by Angkor Photo Association that provides free food, healthcare and education to under-privileged children in the town. The project aims to harness photography as a means to encourage self-expressing and build self-confidence through the processes of active creation. The resulting imagery will be screened on 8 December during the closing night of the festival.
The second workshop, which runs from 1 to 8 December, provides accessible, affordable training for emerging young artists from the region.
Both workshops are made possible through the generous participation of international and local photographers who are all working as volunteers.
It is this commitment to sharing and a belief in the transformative potential of creativity that defines Angkor Photo Festival and marks out its place on the cultural map of the world at the crossroads of the local and the global.
For more information on south-east Asia’s oldest photography festival go here.
~~Angkor Photo Festival is a member of the Asia-Pacific Photo-Forum.
Images (from the top):
© Samnang Khvay
Slide Night at Angkor Photo Festival (© Angkor Photo Association)
Participant at an Anjali House workshop (© Angkor Photo Association)