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Misery and Beauty in a Cambodian Dump

My Photo scholarship 2010 entry

Worldwide | Thursday, 12 August 2010 | 5 photos


My five photos follow a string of emotions I experiences over the course of a few weeks during the year I lived in Cambodia. Arriving at Stung Mean Chay for the first time one can't help but be completely overwhelmed the site, the old women amongst the endless sea of garbage as well as the two teenage boys confronted me with the idea of which would be worse, ending you life in a place like that, or starting it.

The third picture is of the first beautiful image I found in all the misery. In 29 years I have been lucky enough to travel, work, and live in more places than I ever could have imagined, and one reoccurring theme I have found is that no matter where you go or what conditions you find yourself in, kids are kids. The little girl in the picture reinforced this idea one thousand times over leaving me hopeful for a split second.

In a place like Stung Mean Chay moments of hope are fleeting as scenes of bare feet with open wounds walking through piles of garbage filled littered with shards of glass and syringes are far more prevalent.

A few weeks after my first visit to the dump I found myself sitting in front of Angkor Wat at 6am watching the sunrise. My lens was drawn to the reflection of the spired temple next to a plastic bag that had been carelessly left behind. A bag that would likely end up at Stung Mean Chay.

Four years ago a curiosity inspired me to invest in a Canon d-50 and a Tamron lens. At the time I knew nothing about photography and the photos I took reflected that. After tens of thousands of shots I know that my ability to take quality pictures has improved, but that I still have a long way to go. I look forward to the opportunity to be part of this adventure in Bhutan and to have the chance to keep learning. Thanks in advance.

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