Photo fest showcases children's take on life

Photo fest showcases children's take on life

081128_18.jpg
081128_18.jpg

The Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap exhibits photos by youths taken during a weeklong children's workshop

Photo by: Ajay Hirani

The Anjali House kids watching a slideshow of their work.

SIEM REAP
Siem Reap's Wat Athvea was converted into a playland Thursday as the Angkor Photography Festival hosted a special day for children.  A circus performed, and a slideshow projected photographs taken by children living at the Anjali House, an NGO that provides shelter, education and food for underprivileged children.

As part of the Angkor Photography Festival, 40 children from the Anjali House were selected to participate in a weeklong workshop taught by professional photographers.  Seven tutors from Malaysia, India, Nepal, Chile and Cambodia taught groups of five to six children, aged between eight and 16, how to use Canon-brand cameras to capture images around town.    

"The first day was an introduction to photography," said Ajay Hirani, a photographer and tutor for the Anjali House workshop.  "We showed the kids photos from all over the world to teach them about different places and cultures.  They were flabbergasted by Eskimos who live in igloos.  One kid asked me, ‘So how do they make fire?'"  

Practical experience

The children were also taken on field trips to local markets and floating villages on Tonle Sap lake. "The children went ballistic at Tonle Sap," said Hirani.  "It's great to see how they interact with people. They are fearless." 

Hirani, 26, who was a student at last year's Angkor Photography Festival, takes commercial and fashion photographs and is working on a series on Mumbai's night-time landscapes. He told the Post that he's learned so much from teaching the kids because "[they] shoot with such a different vision.  It's really unbiased.  As a photographer who's learned the techniques, sometimes you don't step back and look around you because you're so focused on what you want.  The kids don't know what they want.  They are curious about everything, and they look for weird angles for shooting and reflections".

The kids shoot

with such a different vision. It's really unbiased.

Hirani noticed that the children's photography improved during the course of the workshop. "At first, you see them just clicking at any old thing, but as they go around, they get a bit more choosy," he said. 

Although Hirani noted the potential to say grandiose things about the Anjali children's project, he believes that "for them, it's just a good experience, and a change from their hard life. 

"These are not privileged kids, and it's an outlet for them to be creative."  However, Hirani noted that "for your local kid in Siem Reap, it's not in their radar to be a photographer because you can't make money.  They all want to be tour guides.  But now, they can find more relevance in photography to society today".

Photographs from each of the 40 workshop participants were converted into prints and sold to raise money for a new bus for the Anjali House. 

"There were so many good photographs taken," said Hirani.  

"One of my kids, a 13-year-old girl, the quiet mother figure among all the kids, shot a banana leaf that became a fantastic abstract photo." 

MOST VIEWED

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police