Angkor Photo Festival 2012 by Eliseo Barbàra
Angkor Photo Cafè-Gallery is the Festival Center © Eliseo Barbàra
1961 Gallery © Eliseo Barbàra
Gali Tibbon, “Journey to the Jerusalem of Africa”, 1961 Gallery © Eliseo Barbàra
Andri Tambunan, “Against All Odds”, 1961 Gallery. Detail of the book © Eliseo Barbàra
Andri Tambunan, “Against All Odds”, 1961 Gallery © Eliseo Barbàra
Zhang Kechun/MoST for Greenpeace, “Energy [r]evolution in China”, Gardens of Raffles Grand Hotel © Eliseo Barbàra
Athit Perawongmetha for Greenpeace, “Energy [r]evolution in Thailand”, Gardens of Raffles Grand Hotel © Eliseo Barbàra
Lam Duc Hien, “Women, The Aftermath of Violence”, Gardens of Raffles Grand Hotel © Eliseo Barbàra
Pablo Bartholomew, “Outside in the Chronicles of Past Life”, E.F.E.O. © Eliseo Barbàra
McDermott Gallery, Old Market © Eliseo Barbàra
Hiroshi Watanabe, “Labyrinth”, McDermott Gallery © Eliseo Barbàra
Mario Algaze, “Cotton Candy, Mexico, 1981”, McDermott Gallery © Eliseo Barbàra
It’s probably the most friendly festival of photography in the world. Going to Siem Reap in Cambodia during the week of the Angkor Photo Festival could mean to discover new photographers from Asia and to find new incredible friends from around the world. Now I understand well what Jean Yves Navel, the director of the festival told me about the three words that are the Angkor Photo’s values: discovery, education and sharing.
Through the Angkor Photo Festival and the Angkor Photo Workshops, we want to Discover and, in some cases, rediscover talented photographers from all over the world and to showcase them on an international platform. The Education aspect comes with the Angkor Photo Workshops and the Anjali Photo Workshops for the children at Anjali House. The format is free workshops that aims to provide affordable and accessible professional training for emerging Asian photographers. The latter aims to use photography as a tool to foster creativity – an important part of educational development and encouraging self-confidence.
Last but not least, Sharing is a component that stretches across three events, and involves everyone – the team, the photographers, visitors, and our international audience. Our activities are all about sharing amazing projects and work, sharing of ideals and ideas amongst each other, and of course, sharing our passion for photography.
Starting from the headquarters of the festival, the Angkor Photo Café-Gallery. Every morning (even if your last night has met the sunrise) you can regenerate yourself with strong tea, coffee and a healthy breakfast. At any time you can meet photographers, curators and editors for reviewing portfolios, sharing ideas and talking about photography. This year the walls of the Café host “Thanks for Today” by Indra Widi, a poetic tribute to the hard and ancient life of the Bali’s fishermen. The Café-Gallery changes atmosphere at night thanks to the help of different guest curators for some meet-ups and the Blowup Project[r] by Blindboy.org who organizes a series of street exhibitions and slideshows as the one dedicated to amazing young Indian photography (at least note the names of Adil Hasan, Dhruv Malhotra, Rishi Singhal, Zubin Pastakia, Brijesh Patel, Poulomi Basu, Bharat Choudhary, Vikram Kushwah and Uzma Moshin).
At 1961 Gallery ( this space is a must to visit), there are two exhibitions: “Journey to the Jerusalem of Africa” by Gali Tibbon who documents the annual pilgrimage of thousands of christian orthodox to the sacred town of Lalibela in Ethiopia. The other exhibition is the long-term project by American-raised photographer Andri Tambunan who recently came back to Indonesia. Since 2009, Tambunan has been working on “Against All Odds” documenting with photos, words and actions (he did a self-publishing book, but more than a photo book it is an information book on preventing AIDS . For the photographer this is also an “action book”) on the dramatic and increasing HIV epidemic among the indigenous Papuans. This work won the inaugural Reminders-Project Grant at Angkor Photo Festival last year.
In the small but magnificent Gardens of the Raffles Grand Hotel, the NGO Greenpeace International has commissioned three photographers from three emerging (or already Big) country to document the development of renewable energy. “Energy [r]evolution” is an outdoor exhibition with the works of Athit Perawongmetha who focuses on solar power in Thailand, Prashant Panjar on hydro projects in India and Zhang Kechun on wind energy in China. On the same side of the Garden, yellow umbrellas cover the powerful images of Lam Duc Hien on “Women, The Aftermath of Violence”, a photo installation that promotes the educational and medical care activities of Doctors of The World in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Moldova, Congo, Pakistan and France.
Another outdoor exhibition is in the garden of the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient where “Outside in the Chronicles of Past Life” by Pablo Bartholomew shows an experimental photo installation combining two exhibitions whose audiences can interact with. Two series that evoke the remembrance of a personal and collective past, as an intimate diary of a teenager and young photographer in three booming cities in India in the 70s, Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, between private life and documentation of the reality outside his family.
A special space is dedicated to the Japanese photography thanks to the Kobe-based gallery, Tanto Tempo. “Labyrinth” is a group exhibition showed at the most beautiful gallery in Siem Reap , McDermott Gallery. It’s a showcases of emerging and well-known Japanese photographers: Yoshihiro Hagiwara (“Snowy” shows the contrast between abandoned mines and snow), Norihisa Hosaka (“Burning Chrome” is a black/white homage to the Japanese megacities always in movement), Yukichi Watanabe (the images of “A Criminal Investigation” have been taken in the 60s and they are an incredible dark journey into a real detective story in Irabaki province starting when pieces of a man’s dismembered body were discovered), Ai Takahashi (he seeks out the voices of the Inaka people and their rural agrarian life in “Yama Mura Nora”), Toshiya Watanabe (“Thereafter” collects diptic works documenting Fukushima the day after the earthquake and one year after) and the portraits of traditional Kabuki’s actors by Hiroshi Watanabe.
The second floor of the gallery is a trip from Asia to Latin American and Cuba by Mario Algaze is a small but timeless and intimate retrospective dedicated to the strong relationship bewteen the photographer and his native region and its people. I was enchanted by the photograph “Cotton Candy, Mexico, 1981”. My favourite choice from the festival this year.
Many and many other images have been showed at the 8th edition of Angkor Photo Festival, infact the main events at FCC (almost all the nights) are the slideshows curated by the art curator Francoise Callier with the support of selected guest curatos as the photographer Munem Wasif and the Nooderlicht Festival’s organizers Eddie Marsman and Marco Wiegers.
Siem Reap is a quite city but sometimes it is a neversleeping city. It happens during the week of the Festival. Exhibitions, reviews and meeting-during the daytime and slideshows by evening and the long, crazy and friendly night starts at the Laundry Bar every night . It’s impossible here to not to meet a new photographer or curator or a new friend to say we’ll meet for sure at Angkor Photo Festival next year.
8th Angkor Photo Festival
1st - 8th of December 2012
Angkor - Cambodia
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