When filmaker Nori Said Mahdi arrived in Phnom Penh amid the turmoil of the pre-election
period he was struck by a more serene side of Cambodia, the siesta and the local
population's ability to sleep in the most unlikely places.
"I found that there were so many ways to make siesta. Some sleep like the dead,
exhausted, some people sleep like babies and others in even erotic positions,"
Mahdi said he did his best not to disturb his subjects as they enjoyed what he described
as this "very important part of their life."
"I just approuched them very gently without disturbing them. They didn't know
I was there. I wanted to respect them," he said.
Mahdi's photographs will be on exhibition at the Cambodiana's Lobby bar starting
from Sept 21 under the title "The Cyclo is My Home," one driver's discription
of his life with his trishaw.
Mahdi, who is in Cambodia to film demining operatons and deforestation for UNTAC,
has previously made photographic studies of Vietnamese women bricklayers and village
scenes in China. He is currently working on a series of photos of the relationship
between Khmers and water. He said he hopes to exhibit his sleeping photos when he
returns to Geneva in November.