The longest-running photo festival in Southeast Asia is back in Temple Town with free workshops and exhibitions to showcase and develop photographic talent in Cambodia and abroad.
The Angkor Photo Festival, which kicked off earlier this week and runs through Tuesday, lacks the large outdoor exhibitions at the Angkor Archaeological Park from previous years, but has doubled down on providing expertise to a budding community of regional photographers.
“This year we decided to focus on education. The workshops here are, until now, the only free ones in Asia and they have a very good reputation,” the fest’s program coordinator Françoise Callier told The Post over a cigarette at the Mirage Art Space, which is the festival hub this year.
Mirage’s owner, Khmer-Canadian photographer Serey Siv, opened the art space just last month as a place “for creative people to work and collaborate”, as well as a café and art gallery where he currently has a series of street photos from some 16 photographers from around the world on display.
According to Callier, who has had a long career as a photo agent and curated various festivals around the world, photographers in Asia typically have a hard time getting exposure in the West’s photographic circles.
The workshops are aimed at providing photographers the skills to rectify that disparity – and with participants from previous years lending their support, Callier sees this year as helping to grow an alumni network throughout the region.
“There’s a slideshow evening [showcasing] just the work of ex-students,” she noted, which will be taking place at The Village Café tonight at 8pm.
The festival is also aimed at developing the next generation of photographers, for example through a now-concluded workshop with French Magnum shooter Antoine D’Agata for children at education NGO Anjali House. Their work is on show at The Republic at 4pm on Sunday.
“Every year there are between 40 and 50 kids having workshops,” Callier said. “It’s interesting because the older ones can take their camera home at night, during the weekend, [and] they really show the daily life of Cambodians – that which no one [who is foreign] has access to.”
The festival will finish at The Republic with slideshows of the best works by participants.
“This festival – I would say it’s like a family, everyone is supporting each other,” she said.
The 13th edition of the Angkor Photo Festival and Workshops runs through December 12 at various locations in Siem Reap. All events are free. For detailed information, go to: www.angkor-photo.com. Mirage is located on Street 27, near the corner with Wat Bo road.