In short

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The weather had us worried up to the last minute. The end of monsoon season, which lasts well beyond the Water Festival, gave us spectacular thunderstorms and showers that left the air charged with moisture. Worse still, at the Wat Botum temple, a sudden squall blew down a twenty-meter wall featuring Mak Remiss’ series on fire. It will have to be redone, but the flame is still burning.

Outside, on the banks of the river near the Sisovath docks, as soon as the sun sets, thousands of visitors flock to the exhibitions. The black-and-white squares of Micheline Dullin’s series call to mind the construction of the Olympic Stadium, and the aerial views evoke the nearly-completed Japanese bridge, sparking discussions about the city, the meaning of the construction and how the city is changing under the shadow of the massive skyscraper—soon to be a luxury hotel—rising up on the facing shore, right across from the exhibition. The Royal Palace had made unpleasant remarks about the tower’s effect on the city’s skyline. But somehow things worked out. Meanwhile, as night falls, a woman with a flashlight examines each photograph. She remembers…  

A little later, a group of four women is standing by the large photographs of fish by Chea Nging—also known as DJ Moon—talking and laughing about the the different types of fish and the best ways to cook them.

In addition to the outdoor exhibitions are indoor ones by both young and established artists from Asia and Europe. Although there’s no unifying theme, one can sense a common questioning on the haphazard urbanization of Phnom Penh.

Thailand, Vietnam—with Maika Elan’s series on homosexuals in that country—China, Taiwan and Bangladesh represent Asia this year, along with many young Cambodian artists from the Studio Images training center. The Asia we see is highly diverse and contemporary, questioning its identity, its relationship with its past and the environment.

But there’s also a poetic and fantastic tone, beginning with Laurent Chéhère’s floating houses on a large wall outside the French Embassy, and Bernard Faucon’s “Chambres d’Or,” among others.

At the French Institute are discussions, portfolio reviews and screenings of films about photography by Gabriele Basilico and Anders Petersen. This is where the closing night ceremonies will be held on December 4. It will be a big party with music and projections.

In the past six years, Photo Phnom Penh has attracted enormous crowds and given many people here a calling. We expect so many visitors on opening night that there’s concern about not enough available taxis . And it promises to be ideal festival weather, and a wonderful week of fun and reunions before facing an uncertain future: Photo Phnom Penh currently has no prospects for funding for next year’s edition


Christian Caujolle

 

FESTIVAL
Photo Phnom Penh 2013
November 30 – December 31, 2013
http://www.institutfrancais-cambodge.com

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Festival
Adrien Golinelli
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

In 2012, Adrien Golinelli decided to join a group of tourists visiting North Korea, trying to make a revealing documentary on one of the most closed countries of the world. During this perfectly guided and protected tour, he tried to capture the other side of the story. “I&...

Festival
Chea Nging
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Cambodia in 1989, Chea Nging was studying in the media and communications stream when she began to take an interest in photography, wanting to explore “the inspiration that she could not express in language”. In her series Deep, she takes a fresh look at ...

Festival
Gabriel Veyre
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Back in the summer of 1896, Gabriel Veyre (1871–1936) embarks on a round-the-world tour with the cinematography tools that the Lumière brothers entrust him with to make their new invention known to the planet. First Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela, then in 1898 ...

Festival
Pha Lina
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

In this series, Pha Lina did portraits of the members of six families he met in Ratanakiri. All, in their daily occupations –hunting, fetching water, working in the rice paddy, cooking– find themselves strangely wrapped, tied up, in a meter of yellow ribbon that preve...

Festival
Sun Vanndy
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Every day, when he goes to work, Sun Vanndy meets the main object of his first series: children at the crossroads of Phnom Penh, selling Jasmin Flowers for a few Riels to car drivers. “These children should be at school, but they don’t have the choice , their families...

Festival
Philong Sovan
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in 1985 in Paris, Sovan Philong cut his teeth in photography under the guidance of Mak Remissa and went on to join Studio Images. His put on his first exhibition at PPP in 2009, featuring the people living in a former Catholic chapel. This landed him a position on the Phnom ...

Festival
Laurent Chéhère
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

 The Flying Houses series started in 2007, is a poetic view on popular Parisian suburbs – Ménilmontant in particular – where Laurent Chéhère lives. « I wanted to tell the true or invented story of those sad and battered anonym...

Festival
Maika Elan
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

In 2010, Maika Elan starts  her first series on The Pink Choice, focusing on representing homosexuality – always seen in a negative way in Vietnam. "In media, gays are always hidden, blurred. (…) In movies, they’re always excessively made up and they wear ...

Festival
Munem Wasif
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Bangladesh in 1983, Munem Wasif started to be interested in photography during his childhood, thanks to his uncle - great traveler and amateur-photographer. After his studies at the Begart Institute – Bangladesh, he starts his career as a press photographer in his o...

Festival
Art & Disability Project
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Produced by Chhoun Vanny and Eam Da, the series “Part of The Wall” features some thirty portraits of children from Banteay Meanchey province suffering from physical or mental disabilities. The two photographers and their models were present at the 2012 art workshops o...

Festival
Bernard Faucon
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

At the end of the eighties, Bernard Faucon visits Asia: the inspiring trip for Chambers of Gold. “When I came back, I felt like drunk with gold and Buddhist phantasmagorias.” He entitles his serie Chambers of Gold and continues the work he started ...

Festival
Chuon Nyra
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Chuon Nyra was born in Cambodia in 1989. She began to feel interested in the potential and the meaning of photography after joining a workshop. While working on her techniques, she soon starts to look for a “story to tell”.

Festival
Dow Wasiksiri
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Between 2010 and 2012, Dow Wasiksiri made his series called Local fashion around Kad Luang Market – Chiang Mai, to celebrate the centenary of the biggest market in Thailand (celebrated in 2011). He took his pictures looking around and watching people passing by in the marke...

Festival
Elina Brotherus
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in 1972 in Finland, Elina Brotherus graduated from the Helsinki Universityof Art and Design. In most of her work, she stages herself autobiographically or fictionally, at the same time questioning the classical forms of pictorial art such as the nude, the portrait or la...

Festival
Mak Remissa
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Cambodia in 1970, Mak Remissa became in the nineties the most promising photographers of his generation. With a diploma from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, he became famous with the series Fish and Ants and Water is Life, shown i...

Festival
Noi Satirat Damampai
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Thailand in 1982, Noi Satirat Damampai started her career as a photographer for magazines specialised in documentaries. She decided  to leave photo-journalism and to explore more artistic and intuitive photography. On a trip to Laos, she decided to create t...

Festival
Phann Sithan
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in 1978 in Cambodia, Phann Sithan got his feet wet in photography mainly by taking pictures of landscapes as he travelled out in the provinces. He enrolled in a workshop, where he was able to refine his techniques. Meanwhile, he continued documenting his center of ...

Festival
Micheline Dullin
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Paris in 1927, Micheline Dullin is first of all a great traveler. On a trip to Cambodia, she got hired by the King Nordodom Sihanouk as his official photographer between 1958 and 1964. During that time and many years later, she documented this country she loves ...

Festival
Chen Po-I
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Taiwan in 1972, Chen Po-I has always been interested in photography, although he’s trained as an oceanographic engineer. Photography is his way to question certain topics in society. His work has been exposed many times in Taiwan and abroad and is mostly f...

Festival
Toy Monireth
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Cambodia in 1979, Toy Monireth is interested in photography since early childhood. A few years later, she finds a way to buy a camera to make family portraits on a regular bases. It gives her "a lot of pleasure and makes here very proud". In 2013, she choos...

Festival
Lim Mengkong
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in Cambodia in 1982, Lim Mengkong studied photography all by himself with only a few books and a lot of practicing. The autodidact became Assistant to the Artistic Director of Globe Magazine South-East Asia. Being a great press reader, he sharpens his vis...

Festival
Foreign Familiar
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

The exhibition Foreign Familiar, created by Wolfgang Bellwinkel in 2011, brings together 9 photographers, 8 Europeans and 1 American. Their common goal is to live and work in Asia. They all have a particular vision on a both foreign and familiar society and culture...

Festival
Vincent J. Stoker
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in France in 1979, Vincent J. Stoker started to use photography “by necessity” to express artistically the topic he’s almost obsessed with since he discovered an abandoned paper factory in Corbeilles-Essone: ruined locations. His work is called&nb...

Festival
Zhang Dali
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Born in 1963 in Harbin, Zhang Dali has a degree from the National School of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he was the first recognized graffiti-artist in the 90s. Multidiscipline artist, he always integrated photography in his artistic work, mostly related to changes in ur...

Festival
Vong Sopheak
Photo Phnom Penh 2013

Since the invention of photography, many painters have used it as the basis for their compositions. But few have used it as a means of documenting what they do. That’s what Vong Sopheak has done, modestly and soberly, as he makes a photographic record in his shop ...