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Alex Masi Poonam’s photograph titled Tale of Hope in Bhopal will feature in the The Impact Project projection screening
Alex Masi Poonam’s photograph titled Tale of Hope in Bhopal will feature in the The Impact Project projection screening. Alex Masi Poonam

Worldwide focus at photo festival

Francoise Callier reckons she must have sifted through about 35,000 images as she curated this year’s 10th Angkor Photo Festival, each telling its own tale of life or death, mystery or grim reality.

More than 1,750 photographers from around the world submitted work for exhibition in this year’s festival, which kicks off this weekend and runs until December 6.

It took Callier, the program director, two intense months to whittle the photographers down to the final 150 whose work will appear in a series of slide projections, standing displays and live performance shows.

The entries came from 85 countries, a testament to the festival’s growing reach and importance, but it is still a predominantly Asian platform, and one intended for emerging photographers as well
as more established names.

“We could show the Cartier-Bressons and photographers like that,” said Callier, “but everyone already knows what they look like. This is much more exciting and interesting.”

The slide projections will be shown at the FCC Angkor every evening from the opening event tonight, except for Wednesday, which is Children’s Day, and the final closing night on Saturday, December 6, when the show shifts to the Raffles Riverside Gardens.

Fan Ho’s Hong Kong Yesterday will feature in an exhibition of his work Modernbook at the McDermott Gallery
Fan Ho’s Hong Kong Yesterday will feature in an exhibition of his work Modernbook at the McDermott Gallery. Fan Ho

Special exhibitions will be opened each evening. The organisers are excited about showcasing the work of Fan Ho, who was named by Invisible Photographer Asia in 2012 as one of the region’s most influential photographers. His black and white images of Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s can be seen at the McDermott Gallery.

The Impact Project on Tuesday, December 2, is one of two special projection screenings and looks at the positive effects that people can have on the world around them.

“I wanted to do something positive,” said Callier. “Very often, photographers focus on the negative in the world around them. But I wanted to put together something that shows people that they can help too, that if they just help one person, no matter where they are, they can make all the difference in the world.”

The Alumni Showcase on Sunday, November 30, meanwhile, highlights the work of graduates of the festival’s photography workshops designed for young snappers. Callier was thrilled this year when
one graduate, Sohrab Hura, was elected to renowned photography collective Magnum Photos.

Festival Highlights

Saturday, November 29
Exhibition: Lam Duc Hien, The Mekong: Stories of Man, from the GreenLight Exhibition.
FCC Angkor, 6pm

Sunday, November 30
Projection: Alumni
Showcase
FCC Angkor, 8:30pm

Monday, December 1
Exhibition: Kim Hak, Alive – Memories of the Khmer Rouge.
The 1961, 6pm

Tuesday, December 2
Projection: The Impact Project
FCC Angkor, 8:30pm

Wednesday, December 3
Children’s Day: Exhibitions by children from NGO Anjali House – founded by the AFP – circus shows and youth-oriented
projections.
Shinta Mani, 4:30pm

Thursday, December 4
Exhibition: Jose Raymond Panaligan – The Mangyan Photographs shows a struggle for life as the rights and history of indigenous Filipino tribes are pitted against the greed of mining and logging industries.
Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, 6pm

Friday, December 5
Projection: featuring a special presentation by renowned Australian photographer Max Pam.
FCC Angkor, 8:30pm

Saturday, December 6
Projection: the results of the 10th Angkor Photo Workshops, featuring the work of all 30 participants from 13 countries.
Riverside Gardens, 7pm

Munem Wasif from Bangladesh is another whose work has been attracting acclaim and prizes.

The GreenLight Exhibition focuses on water and how it shapes our lives and how humans have managed to destroy it or use it as a force for destruction. The five-part exhibition can be seen along Siem Reap’s riverside and in the Raffles Riverside Gardens.

The festival has grown significantly since its debut 10 years ago, when the work of just 45 photographers was showcased. A selection of images displayed over the years will be displayed on 20 four-metre tall panels at the festival and workshop centre at The Loft.

It is one of Angkor Photo Festival’s defining features that photographers choose to come back year after year. One of those this year is Patrick Brown, whose work was featured in that first festival 10 years ago.

His exhibition, Trading to Extinction, opens at the Royal Gardens on Tuesday, December 2, and looks at the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, which continues to grow unchecked in “a shocking tale of cruelty, crime and human greed”.

“We are a big family here,” said Callier on welcoming back old graduates and photographers, and of course their many fans. “There are no big egos, and it is often a surprise for the photographers that everyone is so accessible, so open.”

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