Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eli Reed offers tips of the trade



Eli Reed offers tips of the trade

Reed documented life in Harlem in the 1980s. Eli Reed
Reed documented life in Harlem in the 1980s. Eli Reed

Eli Reed offers tips of the trade

For photojournalist Eli Reed, capturing the moment requires patience and perseverance. The New Jersey-born Reed, who is now 70 years old, was the first African-American to join the prestigious Magnum Photos Cooperative, in 1988.

Reed’s talent has taken him all over the world, but he will travel to Cambodia for the first time for the Angkor Photo Festival, where works from his first career retrospective A Long Walk Home will be on display.

The book highlights over 250 images spanning Reed’s full career, and an eclectic range of his subjects. His knack for capturing both the beauty and the ugly side of humanity can be seen from his earliest work, which documents the lives and experiences of black Americans in the ’80s and ’90s.

Speaking via phone from Los Angeles, Reed says that his focus helped him overcome the adversity he faced in his career.

“You have to maintain your equilibrium. Do the work that is important to you,” he says. “If you get angry, then they have won, because that anger can distract you.”

With scant resources or creative opportunities, Cambodian photographers might face similar adversity. Reed points out that initiatives like the Angkor Photo Festival are important to develop their perspectives.

“Photography allows us to show something that people may otherwise be ignorant of,” he explains. “Who better to document what is going on in Cambodia than the Cambodian people themselves?”

Photographer Eli Reed’s book features an eclectic array of subjects. Eli Reed
Photographer Eli Reed’s book features an eclectic array of subjects. Eli Reed

As well as exhibiting a selection of his works, Reed will be a speaker at two presentations during the festival. Instruction comes naturally: he has worked as a professor at the Texas University School of Journalism since 2005.

Reed himself has had numerous mentors throughout his four-decade career. But he still emphasises the importance of trusting your own hand in photography.

“Egos be careful of egos,” he says. “You should never be out to please them, you should want to learn from them.”

As for Reed’s presentations, visitors might be in for a surprise. “I never know what I’m going to say until I step up to the mic,” he says.

Another surprise? Reed practices martial arts, and believes that it is something that has helped his photography work.

“You’ve got to welcome life. You must be in the moment in order to capture it,” he says.

When it comes to capturing elusive moments on film, he seems to have similar advice.

“Take a deep breath, look around you and don’t talk. If you pay attention, you can see moments developing,” Reed says. “Be ready. If you’re not paying attention, the train will leave the station without you.”

A Long Walk From Home will be on at the Royal Gardens on Sivatha Road from December 3 through 13.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol