Volunteer work is difficult and the fact that it is unpaid means few young people are prepared to accept it, but those who do often find it rewarding.

Rath Phallin is 28 years old this year. After years as an unpaid amateur photographer, he has finally made it his profession, working full time for the APSARA National Authority (ANA).

He said he has volunteering to thank for his career. He worked for free as a photographer at forums, conferences and social events for many years, honing his skills and perfecting his technique. It was this hard work that gave him the abilities that enabled him to find full time employment.

“I started taking photographs in 2018. Although I was not paid, the pleasure I got from the work made it worthwhile. Eventually, my passion and the years of hard work paid off, and I was able to begin charging small fees for my work,” he added.

Phallin is now an in demand fixture at social events. He can be seen snapping away at almost all of the finest occasions in Battambang and Siem Reap provinces.

He once volunteered as a photographer for Phare Ponleu Selpak, the Battambang circus which was just recognised by Guinness world records, but now describes his work with landscapes as his greatest passion. In his capacity as an ANA photographer, he spends a lot of time in the Angkor Archaeological Park, capturing images of the temples to promote tourism.

Phallin said that although he is now employed full-time, he knows he will never stop learning.

“I want to add more skills to my repertoire. I dream of becoming one of the great photographers, and will continue to develop my abilities,” he added.

He urged the public to respect the art of photography, saying intellectual property laws and the rights of an artist needed to be respected.

“In the future, I want Cambodians to have more respect for people who try to produce original photographs. I have one request for the public. When I post an image, I don’t mind people sharing it or even using it themselves. With that being said, I would rather they not crop my carefully composed images. I spend a lot of time getting them just right,” he said.