Youth of the week: Ly Sotheany

Youth of the week: Ly Sotheany


Ly Sotheany. Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

“I never thought I could win the first prize. It was unbelievable,” photographer Ly Sotheany said after winning her first big photography competition.

The petite 23-year-old won the Canon Photomarathon II in October, despite taking up photography seriously only the year before.

Sotheany always showed a talent for art and throughout her school studies earned several prizes for her drawing skills.

It wasn’t until taking a free course at the French Cultural Center however that she discovered her talent for photography.

Thanks to professional photographers and teachers, she learned a lot about photography and within a year she was ready to participate to the 2011 Photo Phnom Penh festival.

“I am not yet a professional photographer but with my ambition and the support I’ve been given, I feel driven to achieve it as a career,” Sotheany says.

“I bring my camera everywhere, and I feel like I am improving a lot, all the time.”

After recently graduating in design at the Sitec Institute, Sotheany was able this year to exhibit a lot of her pictures.

Although she is now working as an interior designer for a private company in Phnom Penh, Sotheary's ambition is to become a professional photographer. 

“I’ve found myself drawn towards artistic photography but at the same time I’m enjoying improving my skills,” she says.

Last week she joined eight other amateur photographers from the Canon competition in Siem Reap province for special workshops with the ICLICK company.  

So, what makes a great photo?

While light, composition and technical proficiency are all important elements, there must be a though-out concept behind the image, Sotheany says.

This can be a difficult thing to get right.

“I hold my breath each time I take a photo,” she explains.

“And when I have it right – that’s when I breath out… I won the first prize because my photo was meaningful and because it showed my knowledge of light, composition and angle.

“It is fundamental to have a clear idea of what the theme of our pictures is going to be, before starting shooting. My theme for example is communication."

Taking good photos doesn’t mean having expensive equipment, she says, and having a cheap model camera allows you to be more spontaneous and develop your creative thinking, before worrying about developing technical skills. 

“I used to wish I had a fancy camera but then I realised my imagination and skill were more important than what my camera could actually do.

''I think other people can achieve the same, as long as they give it their best shot.”


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for