Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor temple shooter to turn his lens to Preah Vihear

Angkor temple shooter to turn his lens to Preah Vihear

Angkor temple shooter to turn his lens to Preah Vihear

A Japanese photographer who has spent 15 years and millions of dollars shooting the Angkor Wat complex will now turn his attention to the controversial Preah Vihear temple, government officials said.

Baku Saito, a 60-year-old freelance photographer, has won praise from Cambodian officials for restoring Khmer pride through his depictions of the ancient stone carvings at Angkor Archaeological Park.

His photos have toured the world and are now making their way through Cambodia in the “Holy Faces of Angkor” exhibition, which is being shown at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center, inside the Royal University of Phnom Penh, until May 31.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said the government was proud of Saito’s work because it brought Cambodia’s rich past to the world stage and helped strengthen the roots of Khmer people.

“We learned that his job wasn’t done in one or two days, in fact it took more than 10 years and cost him millions of dollars,” Sok An said at the exhibition’s opening on May 17.

He added that Saito was now considering turning his lens on Preah Vihear temple, an ancient set of Hindu ruins on the Thai border that is at the center of a long-running territorial dispute with the neighboring kingdom.

Ek Buntha, deputy director general of cultural affairs at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts,

said Saito “plans to take photos at Preah Vihear for the next half-year.”

In the mid-1990s, Saito was part of a Japanese-funded team documenting the Angkor ruins. He was tasked with photographing the stone faces at the Bayon temple and his since built a portfolio containing hundreds of images of the site.

‘The photos I took are not just for fun,” Saito said on May 17. “I took them to show the world and make people aware of the richness of Khmer culture” in the 12th and 13th centuries.

He estimated that his craft has cost him $5 million over the years, although his photos now fetch $4,000 to $5,000 each.

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong