Broken Stone of Beng Mealea
Fuji Xpro2, 30mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 1250
Besides the well known sites around Angkot Wat and Angkor Thom, there are dozens, possibly hundreds of other sites near Siem Reap in various states of disrepair. Beng Mealea was only recently opened to visitors and has not been restored at all. It’s fascinating both because it gives a sense of what the more famous temples must have looked like before restoration and because it truly feels abandoned.
Nature vs. Architecture
Fuji XPro-2, 30mm, f/7.1, 1/90s, ISO 6400
Perhaps the most striking sight in Cambodia, the sign of the passage of time, is these ruins completely overtaken by massive trees, the walls completely encased in roots. I couldn’t find any decent broad shot that would convey the strange majesty of it all, so I went the other way and looked for detailed views. This, ultimately, is a good way of highlighting the fight between nature and architecture.
The Faces of Angkor Thom
Fuji Xpro-2, 50mm, f/2, 1/1500s
The central temple at Angkor Thom is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen in Cambodia. Other places may have been more majestic or made me feel more like an explorer, but Angkor Thom has a combination of awe-inspiring and mystical. It’s like these faces were universally relevant somehow.
Angkor on the Horizon
Fuji XPro-2, 80mm, f/4, 1/640s, ISO 200
Phnom Bakheng is a derelict temple at the top of a hill overlooking Angkor Wat. Seeing the famous three spires emerge through the foliage was something quite unique.
Fuji X-Pro2, 85mm, f/13, 1/9s, ISO 200
There’s something fascinating about red peppers. Maybe it’s because they are so unbelievably red, or maybe it’s because they look so nice and shiny and end being so deliciously evil. I like peppers…
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 2500
In one of the numerous AirBnB rooms I stayed in last year, this mask was hanging in the back wall of the toilet room. The gold on red thing and the way the shadow from the lamp was hitting the wall struck me and so I shot this minimalist shot.
Minox 35ML, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 100
Film: Agfa CT 100
I don’t know if this street tailor is part of the Tai Hang ecosystem of garages (in other words, he stitches car seats) or just a street tailor that happens to be established in Tai Hang. I love the idea though. In Europe, finding a tailor is something very specific that you only do for custom made clothes. Here it has a broader appeal I guess (although street vendors offering tailor made suits are a dime a dozen in Kowloon!)
Mother and Child
Minox 35ML, 35mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 100
Film: Agfa CT 100
This is probably my most successful shot in this series. There’s a good dynamic (I think) with light and shadows, the mother and baby and the guy smoking by the bar.
Minox 35 ML, 35mm, f/8, 1/60s, ISO 100
Film: Agfa CT 100
One of the reasons I love the CT 100 slide film is that the colours are vivid but stay really natural. In Tai Hang there are many colourful signs, shopfronts, etc. so it’s a good combination.
Walking Down the Street
Minox 35 ML, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 100
Slide Film: Agfa CT 100
I recently rediscovered my Minox 35ML film camera. It’s a tiny tiny camera with a truly great lens. Sadly it’s very fragile and after shooting just a few rolls it crapped out on me. But I shot a full roll of my favourite slide film Agfa CT 100 in Tai Hang and they came out great. This is a really classic street composition I guess, but I love how the light hits her. The focus isn’t exactly spot on, that’s hyperfocal at f/5.6 for you…