The changing faces of the Angkor Photo Festival

The changing faces of the Angkor Photo Festival

091120_sr15
Jean Francois Perigois and Eric De Vries.

The recent history of the angkor photo festival has been intriguing...

When is a festival not a festival? When it is the Angkor Photo Festival. Although the event is not being held this year, despite recent assurances from some organisers that it would, some vital components of it are still going to run.

This includes the Angkor Photo Workshops for young Asian photographers from November 22-28 at FCC Angkor. And now a substitute for the festival’s usual involvement with local cafes and galleries has emerged, in the guise of the Angkor Alternative exhibition.

This will launch at Eric de Vries’s 4Faces café and gallery on Saturday evening at 7pm, in response to the half-baked idea of dropping the festival.

“There is no festival this year and we cannot use the name,” de Vries said. “When I opened this café and gallery, I wanted to be a part of the festival because I have the space. So my thinking now is: Why not do something during that time? And Angkor Alternative means we’re running something beside just the workshops.”

The 4Faces exhibition is titled “Jean Francois Perigois vs Eric de Vries”. The work of both photographers will be exhibited side by side, and both will give unusual interpretations of the Angkor experience. Perigois’s photos will show black-and-white views of Angkor, with highlights in colour. De Vries, meanwhile, explains that his contribution will be some photos for his recent Hello Darling bar girl exhibition combined with photos of Angkor apsaras.

Also contributing to the festival feel will be the November 26 launch of John McDermott’s long-awaited book, Elegy: Reflections on Angkor. McDermott will play a part in the surviving remnant of the festival, the workshops, because, according to an October 4 posting on the Angkor Photo Workshops Blog, “John [McDermott] will spend some time with a number of students toward the end of the week, to talk and show what it takes to print images for exhibition and run a photo gallery”.

The recent history of the Angkor Photo Festival has been intriguing. In mid-June this year, energetic Paris-based festival coordinator Camille Plante announced she was leaving at the end of that month, following rumours that the festival had run out of sponsorship funds and could no longer pay her.

“I have to update the website and the transfer will be done,” she told the 7Days at the time. But on June 15 she informed the Asian Photography Blog: “There will be only free photo workshops next November in Siem Reap, no festival for this year unfortunately.”

Organisers continued to assure 7Days that the festival would go ahead. On September 11 7Days was privy to part of a meeting between a festival organiser, Bangkok-based photographer and publisher Roland Neveu, and FCC Angkor general manager Benoit Jancloes to cement a deal to make the FCC the hub of this year’s workshops and festival.

Following that meeting, 7Days reported in the September 18 issue: “The annual Angkor Photography Festival has been saved from oblivion at the eleventh hour, with organiser Roland Neveu last week scotching rumours that lack of sponsorship meant the end of the festival.

“But he admits it was a close call. Neveu ... said he found the term ‘scaled down’ offensive and much preferred the description of a festival with a ‘new focus’.”

Now the festival’s website carries this simple message: “Next Angkor Photo Festival in November 2010, with official support from the French Culture Ministry.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide