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Photography for the senses

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People think that a photo is simply a picture with something pretty, fun or interesting in it, but it can be a true piece of art with stunning depth.

This week, LIFT magazine features a brand new art shop that just opened in time to kick-off the new year: Cambodia Art & Gallery, located at #49, Street 173, Sangkat Toul Svay Prey 1, Khan Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh.

Cambodia Art & Gallery offers an innovative way to make a photo collection into a piece of art – a perfect gift for someone who you have a lot of photos with. It could be your best friend, your lover or maybe even a beloved pet.

Every morning I drive to school on the same road, but last week, I noticed this new place. Driving by, I would catch a glimpse of the modern Khmer decorations with different sized photographs tagging walls. It made me curious about what was inside. On Sunday, I finally called my friend and we went to check it out.

It definitely was not what I was expecting. As soon as I arrived in the shop, the black and white decorations lit up under a soft, dim ambience created a truly unique visit. On the table, right when you walk in, there’s an innumerable collection of photographs – all cut to different shapes and sizes, placed around a classic wooden black frame.

There are a lot of smaller pictures lining the wall, most of them capturing scenes of Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, the Royal Palace, Apsara, and other famous Cambodian monuments. The artistic representations of our history are inspiring, and make me proud of my Khmer heritage.

On an adjacent wall there is a collection of hanging portraits, none conforming to a single shape.  

Theam Sarin is the creative force behind the store. He spends his days cutting photos and framing them so they can hang on the wall in different, eye-catching ways.

In one of his pieces, Theam Sarin started with a typical photo of the sun setting at the Angkor Wat temple. He then cut it into three square pieces, adding a modern and edgy feel to the art.

“The idea of cutting a photo into pieces to make a creative design gives the picture a new mood,” Theam Sarin said.

“It means that clients can turn a photograph into a very personal gift or souvenir.”

The price for this new service depends on the size of each picture.

A 15 x 15cm picture costs $3.5USD to cut. It might seem a tad pricy at first, but once you see the results and all of the different available variations, you’ll realise why Cambodia Art & Gallery is definitely worth it.

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