Presenting the overall winner of The Phnom Penh Post’s inaugural photo competition, freelance graphic designer and photographer Michael Gillich
Grand Prize Winner
Photographer: Michael Gillich
Title: The ancient temple ruins of Phnom Bok in Siem Reap Province (antiquated interpretations)
Equipment: Canon 5D, 24-105mm f/4 L, edited on a Mac
Prize: Canon EOS 50D camera body with 17-85mm IS USM lens from iOne
Michael Gillich, a 31-year-old German expat, has worked in advertising in Cambodia for the past four years – and has been doing freelance commercial photography for “a short time”, although says his, “real passion is in landscape photography and photojournalism”.
Gillich, a gent who seems to know which side his bread’s buttered on, credits his “wonderful Khmer wife who has shown me places I would otherwise have missed” for his prize-winning photograph (above), a spectral black-and-white image of an Angkorian temple.
He also says, “This award will definitely make me travel and photograph more”.
Was it your first visit to the site of your prize-winning shot?
Being really interested in ancient Khmer temples – and having seen most of them, both in and out of Cambodia – I had already visited the often-overlooked Phnom Bok mountain in Siem Reap province.
The second time I decided to bring a camera along with me, as you should always do. I ascended the mountain in the morning, before it got too hot. My first visit was at lunchtime, meaning I made my way up in the midday sun.
How did you get such a deserted image?
In contrast to the other temples around Siem Reap, there are rarely any tourists up there – maybe because of the climb – which gave me time to take some nice pictures.
You get rewarded with a view of some old ruins, which can be seen in my picture, a modern wat and a few old artillery guns that make the place look like it has just been deserted by Khmer soldiers.
The view over the countryside can be really scenic in the rainy season.
I also loved the trees seemingly growing out of the old structures.
To emphasise this, I decided to try and capture an antiquated version that looks like its been shot on film with an old view camera.
Did you retouch your winning photo?
For the shot, I used a 24-105mm f/4 L zoom lens at its widest setting of 24mm and edited it on a Mac Mini using Photoshop CS3.
As I did not have a Tilt-Shift lens, the blurry effect you can see at the bottom of the shot, as well as some vignetting [reducing an images brightness or saturation at the edges], was added later.
I hope that people like my picture – and will also visit the Phnom Bok site themselves.