Details from days in the village
Sept. 7, 2017 - I went back to the village that I spent two years in as a Peace Corps volunteer. I gravitated towards photographing details throughout the few days that I spent there. I often find details are helpful at visually sorting out the scene. This allows for me to focus and work to understand more about what is taking place in front of me and not just be overwhelmed by all the stimuli. Throughout this blog post you will see portions of my experience up close.
Without knowing, I returned to village during a small ceremony, which took place the second day I was there. The first image in this post shows part of the spread that was the offering before we ate.
Thes set of four image employs the same element, fire, to showcase the different uses of it in the days during my visit. During the ceremony, candles and incense were lit (fake money was burned too), Savann smokes as he plays guitar and a wood fire heats the wok for fried noodles (which are below).
I think this series of four images begins to suggest that everything is more than one thing. This is something that I constantly am reminded of in Cambodia.
As I continued to make pictures of daily happenings, my host family sort of laughed at this. I told them they were souvenirs to help me remember and not forget the many experiences of my life in Cambodia. This was/is a true statement. It is impossible for me to remember all that I experience here, but making pictures of the things that jump out helps me realize the many complexities and layer each new situation contains. Realizing that I am in a complex situation tells me to go slowly, watch more closely and listen. Tuning in to the world around helps drive my imagery and lets me know what to photograph.
Being able to return to the village as a recent graduate of Mizzou's photojournalism program was a unique experience. When I left the village, I was passionate about making pictures, but I really didn't know the history of photography or the role it plays in our understanding of what the world is. I am happy to say that what encouraged me to photograph initially, an opportunity to showcase the many intricacies and differences found in the country, continues to be the reason why I want to photograph here. Cambodia is so many things all at once. It is an effort to aim to encapsulate this in images that are both honest and revealing, but it is worth all the energy.