Photography is fun. At the end of the day, you take images you like to look at yourself, or you enjoyed taking, or to capture a memory that makes you feel something significant. I guess that’s why there’s such a huge variety of photos out there, and why so many people enjoy it as a hobby.
Nothing too grand about this shot above. In fact, as quality goes, it’s pretty rubbish. I shot it handheld at about 5.30am outside Siam Reap, in the temple complex of Angkor Wat, facing away from the temple itself where the sun would shortly be rising. Being dark, I ramped the ISO to 1600- never advisable on non-pro-range Canons- and still ended up with a little camera-shake to add some blur to all the noise. That canvas texture was there even before I processed it from the RAW image. Somehow, though, it still appeals. Not your typical moonlight shot, terribly underexposed and artificial, yet something about the noise and the poor quality makes it different from the usual gunf I post. Like the sunrise below.
Of course, half an hour later, the view facing in the opposite direction was the more cliched of the pair. Dramatic to watch. But I think I might almost prefer the first one…
After Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975, a Phnom Penh high school called Tuol Svay Prey was taken and turned into an interrogation, detention and torture centre, among the very cruelest of places the 20th Century- a century of atrocities- saw. An estimated 17,000 men and women, and several thousand children, passed into the centre and were tortured until they confessed to crimes against the regime- often for many weeks. Once convicted, they were executed at a killing field outside the city. Only twelve people who were interred at the prison during its four-year reign of terror are known to have survived.
Tuol Sleng, as the prison came to be known, was liberated by the Vietnamese who marched on Phnom Penh and drove out the Khmer Rouge in January 1979. They found a dozen or so corpses, still on the beds they had been chained to and executed by their fleeing captors. Today the place has been preserved as a museum, a place of memorial to those who died, and a place of remembering and learning lest those who come after are ever tempted to repeat such a dark history.
Photo: Barbed wire still strung across a window at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Light plays on a derelict corridor in the temple complex of Ta Phrom, part of the ancient Angkor kingdom outside Siam Reap.
For the first time on this trip I found myself studying the light and taking photos specifically with the intent of converting them to black and white. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole process.
Lots more to come.