Nov 19 2011

Whipper-snappers: Young photographers at the Angkor Photo Festival

Published by at 12:24 am under Events

The seventh Angkor Photo Festival is not just a showcase of amazing photography from all over the world. It’s also a local event that strives to promote and train young Cambodian photographers and support disadvantaged children from Siem Reap. They do this through a series of dedicated, free workshops for young photographers led by top photographers from all over the world, and through Anjali House, a shelter for former street children founded by the Festival organisers in 2006.

Halo Trust, Try Sophal

Halo Trust, Try Sophal.

Sometimes, they can achieve both goals at the same time. Within the extensive programme of support for the 120 kids who come to Anjali six days a week, there is a strong emphasis on arts education. This is not just a self-indulgence. Through painting, drawing, creating, building, playing, experimenting, even blowing things up, the children learn more about the world and themselves, and their confidence grows.

The floods from the inside, Vong Pech

The floods from the inside, Vong Pech.

Naturally, photography has been a strong feature of the arts learning and every year professional photographers spend a few weeks with the kids teaching them the tricks of the trade. Three of those children will have their own exhibitions at this year’s festival, Chan Sokdam, Try Sophal, and Vong Pech.

Both Sokdam and Sophal have had their own exhibitions before, and you’ll be able to find their work at the Raffles Grand Hotel Garden exhibition which runs from November 14 to December 20. They focus on the work of The Halo Trust, a British NGO that has been finding and decommissioning landmines in Cambodia since 1991. Halo Trust were so impressed they offered Sophal a job, which she starts at the end of this month.

Pech took a look at the terrible floods that hit Siem Reap in September and October this year. You’ll be able to get a look at his work on the Festival Opening Night Party today at the FCC Angkor. It offers a perspective that is not always available to foreigners of how local disasters are really experienced locally. Work to help families affected by the floods is ongoing, and you can find out how to contribute here.

The floods from the inside, Vong Pech

The floods from the inside, Vong Pech.

All three young adults have a positive role to play in Cambodia’s future. The confidence that they gain from events such as this, from being viewed by people like you, will be part of what makes them, and Cambodia, a better, more beautiful and stronger place to be.

For more details on the event check out here.

From an earlier series by Vong Pech, the rice paddies behind Anjali House

From an earlier series by Vong Pech, the rice paddies behind Anjali House.


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