Photographer Vincent Rufo was inspired by his mother to take the photos of newborn babies that will be exhibited at The Sothea boutique hotel from March 8 in honour of International Women’s Day.
“My mum took so many photos of me and my sisters as babies,” says Rufo. “It’s special now to see myself as a baby.”
The Filipino travelled far and wide in Siem Reap province taking close-up shots of Khmer newborns for the show, titled Lullaby. He says most of his photography is normally very lively, so he was drawn to the quiet and subdued babies.
“I wanted to shoot sleeping babies and capture the peace and innocence and the inner silence,” he says.
Rufo found one of his subjects at Siem Reap Referral Hospital, the only hospital in town that would let him shoot photos.
“When I came back two weeks later, the mother was so happy to see photos of her baby,” he says, adding that he found Khmer mothers to be especially caring and protective of their infants.
The highly stylised baby shots in Lullaby are mainly black and white. Rufo created intimacy by shooting from very close up – one can see every wrinkle and hair on the newborns and almost feel the tenderness of their skin.
Rufo came to Cambodia two years ago and decided the Kingdom was a “magical” place to take photos.
“I had never seen anything like the Angkor temples; they were great to shoot. But I still consider myself more of a portrait photographer,” he says.
Twelve photos, all for sale, will be displayed at The Sothea for Lullaby. Cocktails will be served, and jazz duo Aya and Trick will provide background music at the opening night.