Beginning next Saturday, the Angkor Photo Festival will bring together the work of more than 130 photographers from 45 countries over the span of a week. One of its highlights will be the environmentally focused GreenLight Exhibition Series, which continues for its third year.
The series hosts two exhibitions that put the “green light” on environmental issues. In A Plea to Stop Overfishing, French photographer Pierre Gleizes takes an uncompromising look at the global commercial fishing industry and the destruction that it has wreaked on both the environment and local communities. Gleizes has previously worked for Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency.
Program coordinator Françoise Callier was struck by Gleizes’ personal commitment to the issue. “I discovered this work at a festival in France and thought it was extremely powerful,” Callier says. “It’s interesting because he is totally in the story – he was with those people for a long time. Very often, photographers are spectators [rather] than inside the story.”
South Korean photographer Daesung Lee’s exhibition Futuristic Archaeology focuses on the desertification of Mongolia by artfully placing humans in constructed scenes – with greener pastures – against realistic backdrops.
His work often depicts the impact of globalisation on nature and people: from climate change refugees to coal miners.
The GreenLight series is complemented by two other key exhibits with an environmental message this year.
Guest curator Claudia Hinterseer has compiled a showcase called We Alter Nature with documentary photos that examine the human impact on the environment, such as documenting where rubbish goes when it is thrown “away”.
“What I hope for with the screening of We Alter Nature is for people that get a chance to see it to reflect on the issues depicted, celebrate the beauty of our natural environment and enjoy the quality of the photography,” Hinterseer says.
And Callier herself has curated The Impact Project, which showcases stories of positive impact on the environment, like the work of Andreas Froese, a German construction engineer who has designed buildings in the developing world made from plastic bottles from more than 80 countries.
“No one shows the good side,” she says. “We want to show the positive stories, too.”
Callier is passionate about increasing environmental awareness, especially in Southeast Asia, and believes that visual representation is key to doing so. “Showcasing photographs on this topic is crucial to raising awareness and creating a more environmentally conscious community,” she says.
A Plea to Stop Overfishing is on at the Riverside Gardens from December 3 through December 13. Futuristic Archaeology will be exhibited in the gardens of T Galleria from December 3 through December 15. Post Weekend is a media partner for the 12th edition of the Angkor Photo Festival, which runs from December 3 through December 10 in Siem Reap. For more details about exhibitions and activities, see angkor-photo.com.