Minnie Mouse striding through an empty, desolate Chinese street is an arresting sight, and certainly does not typify clichéd ideas of Asian street life. It is however a striking image, and just one of the many on display at the new Asian Street Photography exhibition at Angkor Photo Café-Gallery.
Entitled Minnie After Work, the photograph, taken in a Chinese village, is a favourite of both exhibition curator Francoise Callier and gallery owner Tomàs Ordinas, who describes the image as “beautiful” and “lonely”. It was this photo that made Callier say, “Let’s do this, because I was really in love with this picture.” She even has it hanging in her home in Paris.
The exhibition was born out of an idea to do something different.
As Callier explains, “There is a lot of street photography at the moment and usually all the photographs are taken in big towns and it’s a little bit – well, a big town is a big town. It’s always the same kind of photograph and I thought it would be fun to have an Asian street photography exhibition because you can mix big cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and also small villages in China and India, and it would be something new.”
The exhibition features sixteen different Asian photographers – some award-winning, some less established – from countries including Singapore, India, Korea, Bangladesh, Japan and Cambodia.
As Ordinas says, “Some of the photographers don’t have a lot of experience which I think is really nice, it’s a good opportunity for them.”
The gallery owner was so impressed with the exhibition that he broke a self-imposed rule. He had originally decided not to show Asian photos, and especially not Cambodian photos, because these photos can be found everywhere, and the temples are just five kilometres away.
“I wanted something more modern, something that you cannot see here,” he said.
Asian Street Photography runs until the end of November.