Khmer photographer captures tradition

Khmer photographer captures tradition

081204_17.jpg
081204_17.jpg

Chhin Taingchhea showcases archaic pinhole photography

© Chhin Taingchhea

One of the images to be showcased at Chhin Taingchhea's upcoming exhibition.

 

PINHOLE CAMERA

A pinhole camera is simply a sealed box with a very small hole. Some kind of covering in front of the pinhole acts as the shutter, which is moved by hand according to the exposure needed, which can range from several seconds to several hours or even days. As light passes into the box through the hole, the scene or subject in front of the box is projected inversely on the back of the box onto which film or photographic paper is taped.

AS the capital this week celebrates the diversity and advancement of photography, its first PhotoPhnomPenh festival also pays tribute to the demise of traditional methods of taking images.

Chhin Taingchhea's pictures capture the city's decaying past using one of the most low-tech methods available: A pinhole camera made simply from a cardboard food box and a strip of black-and-white film that must be printed in a darkroom.

But despite the rich photographic possibilities in town, Phnom Penh is without a darkroom capable of producing silver gelatin prints.

Speaking Tuesday at the offices of one of the city's two new photo agencies, Melon Rouge, the 25-year-old said he started using a pinhole camera in 2006.

He said he picked up the archaic and prototypical method from Stephane Janin, the manager of the now-defunct Popil Gallery, which was well-known for showcasing exhibits of photojournalism and documentary work. Janin has since moved to Washington, DC, and with that move Chhin Taingchhea lost the private lab in which he learned to hone his craft.

"After he left, I stopped printing pinhole photographs," said the 2006 graduate of the Royal University of Fine Arts.

Today Chhin Taingchhea uses Nikon and Canon digital cameras, as well as a Minolta film body.

But while the process of using the pinholes was time consuming, Chhin Taingchhea said that in the end the pinhole camera's pictures gave him more satisfaction.

Chhin Taingchhea's work will be showcased this Saturday at the Bophana Audiovisual Centre at No. 634, Street 200.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance