P HOTOGRAPHER and occasional painter Mak Remissa scooped the field in
the first Khmer photography contest organized by the Foreign Correspondents Club
of Cambodia (FCCC).
Remissa, of the French-language Cambodge Soir newspaper, won the top prize and also
tied for third place in the competition, which attracted more than 100 entries from
Remissa, aged 29, is a University of Fine Arts graduate who says he initially intended
to be a painter but developed an interest in photography. Since he graduated in 1995,
he has worked as a photographer but still paints from time to time.
A photograph of the young son of slain journalist Thun Bun Ly, weeping in front of
a police riot shield during his father's funeral march last May, won Remissa first
Fellow Cambodge Soir cameraman Chan Vitharin picked up second prize for a picture
of a mother and child at a squatters camp on the banks of the Tonle Bassac.
Third place was a tie between another photograph of Remissa's - a close-up shot of
the intertwined hands of a bride and groom at a wedding - and veteran photographer
Ou Neakiry's picture of two homeless people napping in front of a movie theater billboard.
Neakiry, who worked for the Associated Press in the 1970s and was the only former
photographer for foreign media organizations to survive the Pol Pot regime, now again
works for the Associated Press.
The competition was sponsored by the FCCC, from the proceeds of an auction of photographs
of the former Khmer Rouge, and the Reuters new agency. The judges were former Magnum
photo agency president Philip Jones Griffiths, whose 40 years of photography have
included covering Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, and Time magazine east-Asia photographer
Organizer Darren Whiteside, of Reuters, said it was planned to make the contest an
At the award ceremony at the FCCC May 17, the winners enthusiastically accepted prizes
including cameras, lens, camera bags and other accessories.
"I am very happy," said Remissa. "I think the photo contest can help
photographers to be better and better, so we can also help our country.
"There are not many photographers in Cambodia, and I hope next time there will
be more, and ones who are better than me," he said modestly.
Photos from the competition are on display at the FCCC.