Photo Exhibition Puts Spotlight on Social Issues
By | March 4, 2013

Evictions, the rehabilitation of landmine victims and a prison art workshop are just three of the subject matters at the heart of a new photojournalism exhibition that focuses on social issues in Cambodia.

“Documenting Cambodia,” which opened on Friday at the 1961 Gallery in Siem Reap, features the work of seven Cambodia-based photographers—Erika Pineros, Thomas Cristofoletti, David Belluz, Meng Kimlong, Omar Havana, Sam Jam and George Nickels—and draws on their experiences covering a range of issues that affect people the length and breadth of the country.

It has been curated by Cambo­dian-American Magnum foundation photographer Pete Pin, who earned plaudits for his “Diaspora” photo essay of the lives of Cambo­dians in the U.S.

He said he was interested in how the photos “spoke cohesively and told a compelling visual story that moved me emotionally and aesthetically,” and that he honed in on photographs that were not only powerful, but cohesive.

“Upon looking at the finished product, I see that in spite of the heart-wrenching issues covered by the photographers, there is an overwhelming sense of dignity and humanity in the photographs collectively,” Mr. Pin said by email.

The exhibition is the first to be put together by NGO Insider, a Siem Reap-based website that aims to provide a platform for photojournalists in Cambodia.

“The idea was to nurture the local photo community in Cambodia,” said co-founder Alex Pettiford.

He said he wished more Cambo­dian photographers had responded to the callout for contributors, but that in the end, “it came down to seven people who wanted to exhibit.”

Mr. Cristofoletti, whose “Blood Sugar” photo essay looks at the hardships faced by plantation workers, some of them children, said that while he was pleased to be part of the exhibition, “It was also painful to hear stories from the people who had been evicted, how they’d lost the little they had, and how they’re now forced to work in the plantations and ask for loans to survive.”

Indeed, his work and that of the other photographers, who also covered child labor and life in rubbish dumps, is sure to get people talking about some of the country’s most pressing issues.

“We want to create dialogue,” Mr. Pettiford said. “We don’t want to put an opinion across; we want the photographers to put it across with their work, and we want people to form their own opinions.”

“Documenting Cambodia” runs through April 30.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

LATEST

The Kandal Provincial Court on Tuesday tried two opposition CNRP officials and their lawyer—two of them in absentia—over a case dating back to 2011 that was abruptly scheduled a week ago.

A woman was recovering in hospital Tuesday after being doused with acid in an attack in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City on Monday as police said they are searching for the attacker and a motive for the year’s second acid attack case.

Seven opposition CNRP lawmakers-elect and a party official who are charged with leading an insurrection and incitement to commit a felony were released on bail from Prey Sar Prison at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy emerged from a five-hour meeting in Phnom Penh on Tuesday with a deal for the CNRP’s 55 lawmakers-elect to end their boycott of the National Assembly in exchange for an overhaul of the electoral commission, which they accuse of rigging last year’s election for the CPP.

Two villagers embroiled in a long-running land dispute with the well-connected KDC company were charged Tuesday with intentional destruction of property and causing injuries during clashes with workers at the disputed development site in Kompong Chhnang province last week.

The Cambodia Daily | All the News Without Fear or Favor | The Daily Newspaper of Record Since 1993