Return from Cambodia

I am back in Hong Kong. I slept like a log last night. The temperature is scarily high here and I pity those who have no air con. Because our house has so much glass the warming effect is magnified. I don’t think I shall go very far today.

My final 8 picks from the Southern leg of the trip were shown but there is no feedback on these. My stats show I have taken 3000 photos give or take a few (including North and South legs of the trip) but bear in mind many of these are duplicates as I shot RAW and jpegs simultaneously for much of the time – so maybe  1500 – 1800 would be a more accurate count. I will delete all the rejects once I have backed up all the files and only then will I format my cards. My final picks number 31 and I have a ‘success’ rate of around 1%.

Some of these are experimental and because of the speed at which I reviewed and processed it is quite possible that I will find hidden gems and grow tired of some of the 31.

Here are a few favourites:


Kidsgroupmono2 (1 of 1)The first 2 I like because they portray the kids of Cambodia as they are. A lot of grittiness in the images and not so many smiles. Probably that is because they are not sure how to react to the camera. Once they become used to our presence they hardly stop smiling. The sterner faces here, perhaps a touch bewildered by a group of 8 photographers roaming the streets of their village, are more in keeping with how we would see their lifestyle rather than how they see it. The group reminded me of the old poem,

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

We are those Assyrians and our cameras and lenses gleam as we descend to take our images……

The next image I picked because it is so different from my normal output yet somehow for me it just works.

L1003198-2This is what we learned to call a detail shot. I love the colour, the bracelet the slight lack of confidence in the hands and no hint of what the child looks like – left to the imagination.

Hands-2Another abstract. A reflection on the left and an open window on the right with a mirror inside reflecting the curtain drapes. Frames within frames and reflections upon reflections. Lots of layers,  colour spilling out all over the scene. And like nothing I would normally shoot.

L1003145-2Another colour / abstract. The hull of a boat. Colour riot in a drab environment. The lowest section also shaped like the hull of a boat.  Does the blue tube spoil it? It reminded me of the literary concept Verfremdungseffekt. A bit of a push maybe but I found a definition of it as ” a technique used in theater and cinema that prevents the audience from losing itself completely in the narrative, instead making it a conscious critical observer.”  Maybe the tube jolts me out the ordinary and forces me to look at it differently.

BoatcolourabstractI’m sure there are others, such as the laughing muslim man, that might have made my half-dozen but at least for today these are my chosen few.

A big thank you to Gary Tyson and F8 Photography.

Time to rest this morning and then start a little work this afternoon.

19 thoughts on “Return from Cambodia

  1. Great photos as always. Loved the blue shuttered window, in my first pass of all the photos that was the one that stood out. Your comment about the grittiness of Cambodian kids applies equally well in parts of Bolivia and Peru; apt description.


  2. I didn’t sleep at all well last night Andrew, .. I’ve acquired a Summer cold, and it’s driving me insane.. Mind you, there is one good thing, I’ve taken time off work, and I’m filling my time (between nose blowing) checking out your photo’s…and , yup, I agree about the Window Shutters, they do just ‘work’ for some reason.. they draw the eye every time. and the B & W photo’s are true life,, as you say, changes will happen, lets hope it’s for the best and not just for the sake of it.. xPenx

  3. Well it looks like you’ve done very well. These selections are perfect, gritty black and white and the groundbreaking colour abstracts. Congratulations on your very successful Cambodian expedition. If my youngest son returns to a wat in Thailand I will definitely take a junket into Cambodia.

    • Thanks Barry. There is a lot to see in the country, much of what we saw though is not on the tourist map. Even so it is worth exploring the traditional sites then venturing beyond Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I hope you make it.

  4. Andrew, I am so glad that you and Mrs Ha have returned safe and sound from your respective time away from home. I see that you picked the blue shuttered window as a favorite/. That pic was one that I had picked as a favorite when is was initially posted. Take care and I hope that you soon are well rested. Yes the B & W of the children tells a story and gives a truer picture of what life is like for them. Lottie has written the pics are thought provoking and I agree with that statement 100%.

    • Thank you, Yvonne. The children live in very difficult conditions. Developing countries face may problems. They have a serious challenge with garbage, which is everywhere. That creates bad hygiene of course and illnesses. We saw quite a few children with Down’s Syndrome – though no sign of prejudice against them. So far motor vehicles are not abundant, mainly scooters, tuktuks and bikes with quite a few lorries. Bit they will follow as affluence starts to spread. The countryside is beautiful but hard work for the farmers. Children get limited education because the parents need them to work in the fields or family businesses. There are no quick fixes.

  5. Really like the first two abstracts, nice meaty compositions and content. Not sure about the blue boat, as you say the tube doesn’t help.

    My 10 cents’ worth !

  6. It’s the glorious colours that have really stood out in all of your Cambodia photographs and the grittiness is most apparent in the B&W’s. Your photographs of the children are quite thought provoking. When I put up the first lot of photographs for my Jakarta project at the weekend I kept to just using colour but some of them work much better in monochrome. Maybe I’ll stick to that for the next lot.

    I’m liking the idea of the Verfremdungseffekt. Maybe we should try to use it more?

    Glad you home safe and I hope that Mrs Ha and Lulu didn’t miss you too much 😀

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