Portraits of Phnom Penh is a part of the ongoing project ‘Potraits of’. In this series, I visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and photograph the local people in their cultural traditions and habitat. With my camera, I explore the city and see where they live, how they live and what their work-life looks like. The longer I am in Cambodia, the more questions about the future of the inhabitants comes to mind. People in Phnom Penh are very happy with what they have, but many still have to work hard to make ends meet. Therefore, they are often faced with difficult decisions.
One of the stories in the series is the one from Phalley. A Cambodian lady, who is a mother of three and is - in her own words – an uneducated woman. In the interview, she tells us that she is not content with her job, which is collecting garbage. However, she has to keep doing it to survive and to send her children to school. Phalley stresses that she wants her children to finish their school, so they have a better perspective on getting a better job than she has.
The stories and visions for the future of the adult Cambodians are of paramount important in ‘Portraits of Phnom Penh’. Nevertheless, without the stories of the younger generation, this series wouldn't be complete. While I was there, I got the opportunity to visit the ‘Happy School’, which is a non-profit project from the organization 'Children for a Better Future', they provide underprivileged children with the opportunity to go to school. On the one hand, the Happy School offered me an insight into the Cambodian school system. On the other hand, it also showed me the challenges these students and their families face. Something as little as not being able to finance the reparation of a bike can determine the student’s future.
Portraits of Phnom Penh with its impressive stories is captured in cinematic images. With this series, I want to provide the viewer with the opportunity to study flashes from the daily lives of the people of Phnom Penh. Flashes in which so many things are happening at the same time is what characterize this city. The longer you look at the photos, the more details you will discover. Every photo has its own story but is also influenced by other photos from the series.
After the trip Charly and I made a recap video from our experience of the trip and the story about the project Portaits of Phnom Penh. I recommend you to watch it before scrolling down further. It will give you some great inside information about the photo series and some extra photos as well.
It was really hard for me to downsize 60 photos into an online selection of 14 photos. In the near future, I hope to have an exhibition with the other ones, so that you can see them as well. But it is really hard to gather many people in one spot with all the restrictions now… So for now enjoy the online selection and especially the videos as well! More coming soon!